The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The documents state that the U.S. campaign aims to turn Iraqis against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, by playing on their perceived dislike of foreigners. U.S. authorities claim some success with that effort, noting that some tribal Iraqi insurgents have attacked Zarqawi loyalists.
For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.
Per usual, the fraud was perpetrated by enlisting a reporter from the New York Times (note: Washington Post reporters work just as well).
The revelations come from a briefing that Col. Derek Harvey, gave last summer at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Harvey is from military intelligence and was serving on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of staff.
One slide in the same briefing, for example, noted that a "selective leak" about Zarqawi was made to Dexter Filkins, a New York Times reporter based in Baghdad. Filkins's resulting article, about a letter supposedly written by Zarqawi and boasting of suicide attacks in Iraq, ran on the Times front page on Feb. 9, 2004.
Leaks to reporters from U.S. officials in Iraq are common, but official evidence of a propaganda operation using an American reporter is rare.
Filkins, reached by e-mail, said that he was not told at the time that there was a psychological operations campaign aimed at Zarqawi, but said he assumed that the military was releasing the letter "because it had decided it was in its best interest to have it publicized." No special conditions were placed upon him in being briefed on its contents, he said. He said he was skeptical about the document's authenticity then, and remains so now, and so at the time tried to confirm its authenticity with officials outside the U.S. military.
This is how it works, folks. Sometimes witting, sometimes unwitting, the big-foot reporters at the New York Times and Washington Post are used to disseminate propaganda. In this case, Filkins may have been skeptical, but he reported the crap that the Bush administration wanted to get out there. I knew it was pure bullshit at the time. And I've been saying that Zarqawi is largely a myth for a year. If they can't fool me, they can't fool anyone that really matters. This propaganda was used to shore up domestic support for the war and for Bush's policies. Score another one for me. In the battle to see who is telling the truth, and who has a better grasp of the facts, I am drubbing this administration about 98-0.
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