Apr 10, 2006

Zarqawi Emphasis in Info-Op MATRIX Exposed

Information operations, one of the core proficiencies of which regular readers of this blog have become expert, are the subject of a front page article in today's Washington Post.

Or, to be more specific, one aspect of the info-op MATRIX, that we have been studying.

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...

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.

Some senior intelligence officers believe Zarqawi's role may have been overemphasized by the propaganda campaign, which has included leaflets, radio and television broadcasts, Internet postings and at least one leak to an American journalist.

Listen to the understatement of the year:

The military's propaganda program largely has been aimed at Iraqis, but seems to have spilled over into the U.S. media. One briefing slide about U.S. "strategic communications" in Iraq, prepared for Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq, describes the "home audience" as one of six major targets of the American side of the war.

That slide, created by Casey's subordinates, does not specifically state that U.S. citizens were being targeted by the effort, but other sections of the briefings indicate that there were direct military efforts to use the U.S. media to affect views of the war. 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.

Pure WaPo bullshittery here. But I guess their loophole is the term "official evidence", which in this case takes the form of a two images from a MNF-Iraq briefing slideshow.

Regulars here will get a chuckle from explanation number four.

U.S. military policy is not to aim psychological operations at Americans, said Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003. "It is ingrained in U.S.: You don't psyop Americans. We just don't do it," said Treadwell. He said he left Iraq before the Zarqawi program began but was later told about it.

Again, one must refer back to explanation number four from the briefing slideshow for clarification (however opaque for non-regulars here).

With satellite television, e-mail and the Internet, it is impossible to prevent some carryover from propaganda campaigns overseas into the U.S. media, said Treadwell, who is now director of a new project at the U.S. Special Operations Command that focuses on "trans-regional" media issues. Such carryover is "not blowback, it's bleed-over," he said. "There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment."

Ho ho ho.

One internal briefing, produced by the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, said that Kimmitt had concluded that, "The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date."...

Kimmitt said, "There was clearly an information campaign to raise the public awareness of who Zarqawi was, primarily for the Iraqi audience but also with the international audience."

Interesting isn't it, the many instances that the U.S. television and print media blithely referred to Al Qaeda operating in Iraq. This "bleed-over" (sic) was done to intentionally conflate Zarqawi's group with the real Al Qaeda of Osama bin Laden, in order to tie Iraq to 9-11 in the minds of Americans--thus justifying the (by then failing) U.S. war in Iraq.


Meatball One said...

...and I ask, " Who as of the last year has seen any proof of life for Zarqawi?"

Nobody I've heard of. He never even sent condolences & commiserations when his mother died. Figure that one out if you can. I thought that was the least you'd expect from a living muslim.

Anonymous said...


And there were reports that he lost a leg in Jihad somewhere (Afghanistan?), and went to Iraq for medical assistance.

The videos don't show any Long John Silver type.

"Mistah Zarqawi, He dead"

Meatball One said...

I'd guess so too. I never bought into his weight or import other than as a rallying-point for U.S. propaganda efforts aimed at the American electorate.

And his wife...I hear hos wife is as close to destitute as a wife in those parts can be. Doesn't exactly jive with being a wife of a potent warrior god.