Thursday, May 10, 2007

Declassified Iraq Media War Plan Paper

From the National Security Administration Archive, just released on May 8, 2007: a White Paper and PowerPoint slides on "a critical interim rapid response component" of the United State's Defense Department's strategic information campaign for Iraq "in the event hostilities are required to liberate Iraq." The plan, put together in January of 2003, called for a Rapid Reaction Media Team "to serve as a bridge between Iraq's formerly state-controlled news outlets and an 'Iraqi Free Media' network" (NSAA website).

These documents were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and are posted in their entirety on the NSAA website.

More in the way of explanation from the website:
"The Pentagon team would portray a "new Iraq" offering hope of a prosperous and democratic future, which would serve as a model for the Middle East. American, British, and Iraqi media experts would be hand-picked to provide "approved USG information" for the Iraqi public, while an ensuing "strategic information campaign" would be part of a "likely 1-2 years . . . transition" to a representative government. A new weekly Iraqi newspaper would feature "Hollywood" along with the news.

Defense Department planners envisioned a post-invasion Iraq where the U.S., in cooperation with a friendly Baghdad government, could monopolize information dissemination. They did not account for independent media outlets, the Internet, and all the other alternative sources of information that are available in the modern world. The U.S. media campaign has not been able to control the message - but its execution was privatized, and contracting has made it a profitable enterprise for those able to capitalize on the Pentagon's largesse."

The site also includes an "Iraq Media Timeline" that summarizes the U.S. media campaign and the difficult conditions faced by reporters in Iraq.

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