Army embeds PSYOPS soldiers at local TV stations
The U.S. Army has used local television stations in the U.S. as training posts for some of its psychological-operations personnel, according to Yahoo! News blog The Upshot. Since at least 2001, both WRAL, a CBS affiliate in Raleigh, N.C., and WTOC, a CBS affiliate in Savannah, Ga., have regularly hosted active-duty soldiers from the Army’s 4th Psychological Operations group as part of the Army’s Training With Industry program. Reuploaded from theGlobalReport’s channel- http://www.youtube.com/user/theGlobal…
Army embeds active-duty PSYOPS soldiers at local TV stations
The U.S. Army has used local television stations in the U.S. as training posts for some of its psychological-operations personnel, The Upshot has learned. Since at least 2001, both WRAL, a CBS affiliate in Raleigh, N.C., and WTOC, a CBS affiliate in Savannah, Ga., have regularly hosted active-duty soldiers from the Army’s 4th Psychological Operations group as part of the Army’s Training With Industry program. Training With Industry is designed to offer career soldiers a chance to pick up skills through internships and fellowships with private businesses. The PSYOPS soldiers used WRAL and WTOC to learn broadcasting and communications expertise that they could apply in their mission, as the Army describes it, of “influenc[ing] the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign audiences.”
Why Were Government Propaganda Experts Working On News At CNN?
Reports in the Dutch newspaper Trouw (2/21/00, 2/25/00) and France’s Intelligence Newsletter(2/17/00) have revealed that several officers from the US Army’s 4th Psychological Operations(PSYOPS) Group at Ft. Bragg worked in the news division at CNN‘s Atlanta headquarters last year, starting in the final days of the Kosovo War.
In the U.S. media, so far only Alexander Cockburn, columnist for The Nation and co-editor of the newsletter CounterPunch, has picked up on the story. Cockburn’s column on the subject is available at www.counterpunch.org.
The story is disturbing. In the 1980s, officers from the 4th Army PSYOPS group staffed the National Security Council’s Office of Public Diplomacy (OPD), a shadowy government propaganda agency that planted stories in the U.S. media supporting the Reagan Administration’s Central America policies.
A senior US official described OPD as a “vast psychological warfare operation of the kind the military conducts to influence a population in enemy territory.” (Miami Herald, 7/19/87) An investigation by the congressional General Accounting Office found that OPD had engaged in “prohibited, covert propaganda activities,” and the office was soon shut down as a result of the Iran-Contra investigations. But the 4th PSYOPS group still operates.
CNN has always maintained a close relationship with the Pentagon. Getting access to top military officials is a necessity for a network that stakes its reputation on being first on the ground during wars and other military operations.
What makes the CNN story especially troubling is the fact that the network allowed the Army’s covert propagandists to work in its headquarters, where they learned the ins and outs of CNN‘s operations. Even if the PSYOPS officers working in the newsroom did not influence news reporting, did the network allow the military to conduct an intelligence-gathering mission against CNN itself?