2005-11-15

Kritik am Propaganda-Krieg des Pentagon

--- Das US-Verteidigungsministerium hat sich PR-Hilfe f�r eine vorteilhaftere Darstellung des Irak-Kriegs besorgt. Es setzt dabei auf die etwa schon im Kosovo-Krieg t�tig gewordenen Rendon Group Doch die Propaganda-Anstrengungen ernten Kritik:
In an effort to fight what it sees as an insidious propaganda war waged by terrorists, from incendiary Web sites to one-sided television images of the Iraq war, the Pentagon has been quietly waging its own information battle throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. One of its primary weapons is a controversial, secretive firm that has been criticized as ineffective and too expensive. The Rendon Group, directed by former Democratic Party political operative John Rendon, has garnered more than $56 million in Pentagon work since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Those contracts list such activities as tracking foreign reporters; "pushing" news favorable to U.S. forces; planting television news segments that promote U.S. positions; and creating a grass-roots voting effort in Puerto Rico on behalf of the Navy, Pentagon records show. The contracts, some of which were obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal that the Bush administration is engaged in a war of images and words with Al Qaeda and other radical groups. Civilian and military leaders say the contracts are necessary to fight the media wars waged by Islamic fundamentalists who control images on television, radio and the Internet in some Arab countries. But proponents of open government question the role of firms like The Rendon Group, suggesting their work blurs the line between legitimate news and propaganda. And Americans have long been nervous about the notion of the government managing information. To the extent that the Pentagon is attentively studying media publications, there is nothing wrong with that, said Steven Aftergood, a secrecy expert at the Federation of American Scientists. "Where it gets questionable is when they start engaging in media-based operations," Aftergood said, meaning actually distributing news items. "And that's something that needs to be carefully circumscribed and defined in policy, because there is no clear line between the foreign media and U.S. media." The Rendon Group is perhaps best-known for its part in the controversy that surrounded the Pentagon's short-lived Office of Strategic Influence nearly four years ago. A February 2002 New York Times article disclosed the office's existence and reported that the company was part of the effort, which possibly included attempts to plant false news stories abroad. After public and congressional outcry, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld shut down the office. But John Rendon, who until now had declined to discuss the episode, said in an interview last week that the news stories were wrong and that his company never worked for the office. "That wasn't us," Rendon said. "The whole notion of putting false news stories abroad, that was never us."
Und sonst: Aller Propaganda zum Trotz: Selbst republikanische Senatoren fordern inzwischen von Bush den baldigen R�ckzug der US-Truppen aus dem Irak: In a sign of increasing unease among Congressional Republicans over the war in Iraq, the Senate is to consider on Tuesday a Republican proposal that calls for Iraqi forces to take the lead next year in securing the nation and for the Bush administration to lay out its strategy for ending the war.

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