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Revealed: war propaganda in the British media

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On 26 August, the Guardian revealed that a Whitehall counter-terrorism unit is targeting the BBC and other media organisations as part of a new global propaganda push. The Guardian noted that: "The disclosure that a Whitehall counter-terrorism propaganda operation is promoting material to the BBC and other media will raise fresh concerns about official news management in a highly sensitive area."

According to the paper issued by the Research Information and Communication Unit,\' the report says: \"We are pushing this material to UK media channels, eg, a BBC radio programme exposing tensions between AQ leadership and supporters. And a restricted working group will communicate niche messages through media and non-media.\"

Media Workers Against the War spokesperson, David Crouch said: \"These revelations raise very serious questions about recent corporate media coverage of the \'war on terror\'.

\"In June there was a string of stories in the British press stressing that al-Qaeda was \'down but not out\', suffering set-backs in Iraq and Afghanistan—precisely the message being pushed by Whitehall counter-intelligence.

\"Yet the crisis in Pakistan and the killing of 10 French and 9 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan in successive weeks shows what rubbish this is.

\"The secret services in the UK and US have a disgraceful record of planting mis-information and propaganda in the media.\"

In the run-up to the Iraq war, the Observer\'s reporter David Rose became a mouthpiece for MI5 and MI6 propaganda - by his own admission. Rose now deeply regrets this.

Mr.Crouch added that: \"In April the New York Times exposed that the Pentagon conducted a major campaign of placing retired generals on US TV news to put the case for war in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. In 2002 Rumsfeld\'s \"Office of Strategic Influence\" inside the Pentagon had to be scrapped after it emerged that the OSI planned to plant \"black propaganda\" in foreign media.

\"The news that counter-intelligence is targetting the BBC should be a wake-up call to all journalists\", he concluded.

DATELINE: 25 January, 2010