eveline lubbers on Sun, 11 Jan 2004 23:32:44 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-nl] informatie oorlogen als verlengstuk van militaire strategie

K.Koster <k.koster@inter.nl.net>

Utrecht 11012004

Geachte heer/mevrouw

Dit is een belangwekkend stuk over de Amerikaanse (en ook Britse)
'information dominance' strategie, die deel uitmaakt van de
oorlogsstrategie. Dat was altijd al zo, maar speelt nu een prominentere
rol. Let op de interactie tussen de militaire controle op informatie
afkomstig van het slagveld (bijv de 'embedded' verslaggevers), de
bewijsvoering van de casus belli, het beinvloeden van de propaganda
middelen van de vijand. Het zijn allen elementen van een oorlogstrategie.
Vooral de interactie tussen de militaire stratgie en het bij uitstek
civiele proces van het beinvloeden van de meningen van de burgerbevolkingen
is bijzonder verontrustend. Daarnaast is er ook de inherente wens om
onafhankelijke dan wel vijandige nieuws media te controleren of desnoods te
'neutralsieren' : mocht men dit perfectioneren, dan is dat een grote stap
naar de Orwelliannse toestand in '1984'.
De interactie is een  logische ontwikkeling, vanweg het belang van de
publieke opinie van een land (in dit geval de VS) in het vaststellen van de
grenzen waarbinnen het een oorlog kan voeren. In de VS was de
niet-bestaande '0911 aanslag - Irak' connectie van groot belang, met als
tweede de deels verzonnen dreiging van inzetbare massavernietigswapens. Dit
tweede mechanisme was van groter belang in de VK en Nederland. Het
verschijen van het Kelly rapport deze maand zal deze kwestie weer aan de
orde stellen. De vraag over de rol van de media (en deels de controlerende
taak van het parlement, als dze zich laat leiden door de waan van de dag)
mag ook in Nederland gesteld worden.
Voor de hand liggende practische vraag: welke onderdeelen van welke
ministeries houden zich bezig met 'informatie oolrogen' (eventueel onder
een andere naam)?

Karel Koster

The domination effect

Since the beginning of the war in Iraq, the US has sought not just to
influence but to control all information, from both friend and foe

David Miller
Thursday January 8, 2004
The Guardian

"Information dominance" came of age during the conflict in Iraq. It is a
little discussed but highly significant part of the US government strategy
of "full spectrum dominance", integrating propaganda and news media into
the military command structure more fundamentally than ever before.
In the past, propaganda involved managing the media. Information dominance,
by contrast, sees little distinction between command and control systems,
propaganda and journalism. They are all types of "weaponized information"
to be deployed. As strategic expert Colonel Kenneth Allard noted, the 2003
attack on Iraq "will be remembered as a conflict in which information fully
took its place as a weapon of war".
Nor is information dominance something dreamt up by the Bush White House.
It is a mainstream US military doctrine that is also embraced in the UK.
According to US army intelligence there are already 15 information
dominance centres in the US, Kuwait and Baghdad.
Both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in
this country have staff assigned to "information operations". In future
conflicts, according to the MoD, "maintaining morale as well as information
dominance will rank as important as physical protection".
Achieving information dominance according to American military experts,
involves two components: first, "building up and protecting friendly
information; and degrading information received by your adversary". Seen in
this context, embedding journalists in Iraq was a clear means of building
up "friendly" information. An MoD-commissioned commercial analysis of the
print output produced by embeds shows that 90% of their reporting was
either "positive or neutral".
The second component is "the ability to deny, degrade, destroy and/or
effectively blind enemy capabilities". "Unfriendly" information must be
targeted. This is perhaps best illustrated by the attack on al-Jazeera's
office in Kabul in 2001, which the Pentagon justified by claiming al-Qaida
activity in the al-Jazeera office. As it turned out, this referred to
broadcast interviews with Taliban officials. The various attacks on
al-Jazeera in Kabul, Basra and Baghdad should also be seen in this context.
The evidence is that targeting of independent media and critics of the US
is widening. The Pentagon is reportedly coordinating an "information
operations road map", drafted by the Information Operations Office of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to Captain Gerald Mauer, the road map
notes that information operations would be directed against an "adversary".
But when the paper got to the office of the undersecretary of defence for
policy, it was changed to say that information operations would attempt to
"disrupt, corrupt or usurp" adversarial decision-making. "In other words,"
notes retired US army colonel Sam Gardiner, "we will even go after friends
if they are against what we are doing or want to do."
In the UK, according to Major Nigel Smith of the 15 Psychological
Operations Group, staffing is to be expanded and strategic information
operations "will take on a new importance" as a result of Iraq. Targeting
unfriendly information is central to the post-conflict phase of
reconstruction too. The collapse of distinctions between independent news
media and psychological operations is striking.
The new TV service for Iraq was paid for by the Pentagon. In keeping with
the philosophy of information dominance it was supplied, not by an
independent news organisation, but by a defence contractor, Scientific
Applications International Corporation (Saic). Its expertise in the area -
according to its website - is in "information operations" and "information
The Saic effort ran into trouble. The Iraqi exile journalists it employed
for the Iraq Media Network (at a cost $20m over three months) were too
independent for the Coalition Provisional Authority. Within weeks,
occupying authority chief Paul Bremer introduced controls on the IMN. He
also closed down some Iraqi-run newspapers and radio and TV stations.
According to Index on Censorship, IMN managers were told to drop the
readings from the Koran, the vox-pops (usually critical of the US invasion)
and even to run their content past the wife of a US-friendly Iraqi Kurdish
leader for a pre-broadcast check. The station rejected the demands.
But this did not stop Bremer, and further incidents culminated in a
nine-point list of "prohibited activity" issued in June 2003. Bremer would
reserve the power to advise the IMN on any aspect of its performance,
including matters of content and the power to hire and fire staff. Thus, as
Index on Censorship notes: "The man in absolute authority over the
country's largest, richest and best-equipped media network is also his own
regulator and regulator of his rivals, with recourse to the US Army to
enforce his rulings."
Attacks on al-Jazeera continue. In September 2003 the Iraq governing
council voted to ban reports from al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya on the grounds
that they incite violence. As evidence of this, one member of the Iraqi
National Congress who voted for the ban, noted that the TV stations
describe the opposition to the occupation as the resistance. "They're not
the resistance, they are thugs and criminals," he said.
But the Iraqi people appear not to share this view of al-Jazeera. Those
with satellite access to al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya are more likely to trust
them over IMN. As the experience of IMN shows, achieving dominance is not
always a straightforward matter. This is precisely why the strategy for
"unfriendly information" is to "deny, degrade and destroy".
 David Miller is editor of Tell Me Lies: Propaganda and Media Distortion
in the Attack on Iraq

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