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Monday, April 10, 2006

Project Goldstein

Who's that man?

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.
I can't help but wonder what, exactly, this campaign has entailed. The Post story mentions "leaflets, radio and television broadcasts, Internet postings and at least one leak to an American journalist," but then there's this bit a little further on in the article:
The Zarqawi campaign is discussed in several of the internal military documents. "Villainize Zarqawi/leverage xenophobia response," one U.S. military briefing from 2004 stated. It listed three methods: "Media operations," "Special Ops (626)" (a reference to Task Force 626, an elite U.S. military unit assigned primarily to hunt in Iraq for senior officials in Hussein's government) and "PSYOP," the U.S. military term for propaganda work.
The Media and PSYOP campaigns are touched on in this article, but there's no further exploration at all of the role of Special Ops in this endeavor. Why is that?

What will we learn--however far in the future this knowledge presents itself--in terms of details about all the horrors which have been attributed to Zarqawi (bombings, beheadings, executions). I'm not sure I want to know.

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