RealNews

Firing Leaflets and Electrons, U.S. Wages Information War

Even before President Bush orders American forces to loose bullets and bombs on Iraq, the military is starting an ambitious assault using a growing arsenal of electronic and psychological weapons on the information battlefield. American cyber-warfare experts recently waged an e-mail assault, directed at Iraq’s political, military and economic leadership, urging them to break with Saddam Hussein’s government. A wave of calls has gone to the private cellphone numbers of specially selected officials inside Iraq, according to leaders at the Pentagon and in the regional Central Command. As of last week, more than eight million leaflets had been dropped over Iraq — including towns 65 miles south of Baghdad — warning Iraqi antiaircraft missile operators that their bunkers will be destroyed if they track or fire at allied warplanes. In the same way, a blunt offer has gone to Iraqi ground troops: surrender, and live. But the leaflets are old-fashioned instruments compared with some of the others that are being applied already or are likely to be used soon. Radio transmitters hauled aloft by Air Force Special Operations EC-130E planes are broadcasting directly to the Iraqi public in Arabic with programs that mimic the program styles of local radio stations and are more sophisticated than the clumsy preachings of previous wartime propaganda efforts. Full Story

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