August 22, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

Now playing on the Net: War propaganda

Amid the home videos of dancing teens and sporting events on YouTube, a well-crafted, nine-minute video makes a direct appeal to Americans to oust the Bush administration.

"People of America, we wish to share with you our thoughts on the events we experienced," says the narrator of "Iraq--the truth?" The narrator claims to represent those opposing the U.S. in Iraq. "Despite the madness we have endured we see no harm in presenting you with the criminal nature of your newly elected emperor."

It's impossible to say for certain who created the video, but it's no doubt part of a growing and surprising trend at video-sharing sites. The democratization of online video through sites such as YouTube, Metacafe and is allowing combatants on both sides of the battlefield to make their version of events public.

The Web offers any individual with Internet access the means to reach out to vast audiences with little or no regard for geographical borders. The number of people watching the propaganda videos is still small: About 14,000 people have viewed the "Iraq ? the truth?" video, which was posted in May. By comparison, the most popular video currently on YouTube is "Tila Tequila," which has been watched more than 800,000 times.

But experts say such material could be a harbinger of the future.

"The enemy is taking propaganda straight to the American people," said Nancy Snow, associate professor at California State University at Fullerton and author of "Propaganda Inc." "You have to give them credit for utilizing the power of this new medium. They're using cheap technology, but today anybody with a video camera can make his own movie and broadcast it."

Bush administration officials have noticed. In a speech last February, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said al-Qaida and other extremist groups have adapted faster than the U.S. to fighting information wars on the Web.

War video

"There's never been a war fought in this environment before," Rumsfeld told the Council on Foreign Relations, according to a transcript of the speech. "Today we are fighting the first war in the era of e-mail, blogs, BlackBerries, instant messaging, digital cameras, the Internet...The U.S. government still functions as a five-and-dime store in an eBay world."

Propaganda, the practice of tailoring a message to sway opinion rather than to present impartial information, is not new to the Web. Sending e-mails to promote one political philosophy or another is as old as the Net. But when it comes to influencing opinions, video packs a greater emotional punch than text or photographs, said Snow, a former staffer at the U.S. Information Agency, which was once responsible for explaining U.S. foreign policy to the world.

The power of video to communicate ideas to large audiences has not been lost on politicians, corporations or the clergy in this country. Many have begun posting commercials or sermons on user-submitted sites.

Figuring out just how many people can be reached via online video is still unclear. San Mateo, Calif.-based YouTube, the largest of the video-sharing sites, attracts more than 16 million viewers per month and presents 100 million videos a day. The company was lauded recently for providing an unfiltered view of the fighting in Lebanon.

These sites are quickly becoming a bully pulpit from which any agenda can be pushed.

Click here to Play

Video: War clips on the Web
Combatants on the battlefield in Iraq post video clips of the war on sites such as Guba, YouTube and Ogrish.

Anyone performing a search of the word "Iraq" on YouTube can locate scores of clips about the war, including those that show Americans being attacked by snipers or with explosive devices. One clip shows what appears to be U.S. soldiers being shot by a sniper known as "Juba" or "Juma." The text and narration in these videos are rarely, if ever, in English.

In contrast, "Iraq - The Truth?" features very little graphic violence. The narrator speaks English as somber orchestral music plays in the background. He argues that the war in Iraq is unjust. There is also a veiled threat that the U.S. will face nuclear attack. He finishes by complimenting Americans on their ability to produce great leaders with a subtle suggestion that they violently overthrow the current administration.

"We believe that a nation which once gave the world John F. Kennedy, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington...will not fall short of giving true leaders of substance and dignity," the narrator says. "We advise you to take matters into your own hands."

Such material is unlikely to change the minds of anyone who strongly supports the war, Snow said. But for those people who are unsure or oppose the effort, the images may prove powerful.

Average American soldiers also have begun communicating their take on the war. It's a take that may not please the Pentagon.

CONTINUED: Sending a message of war…
Page 1 | 2

See more CNET content tagged:
Iraq, YouTube, war, online video, Bush Administration


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Israels GIYUS.ORG Megaphone, June Smoking Gun
You forgot to mention, the 'give Israel your support' desktop tool that tells people which Internet forums to go turf^d^d^d^d express their avid support for Israel.

Obviously a pufferfish approach to make a little support seem a lot bigger than it really is.

"Today's conflicts are won by public opinion.
Now is the time to be active and voice Israel's side to the world. 1. Download and install Megaphone desktop tool, 2. Receive desktop alerts on key articles and surveys, 3.Click alerts to easily voice your opinion"

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

It even translates polls into English French Hebrew and Spanish, so that visitors in foreign languages can handily vote for Israel without understanding the foreign language article. Nice.

But it also gives the game away, because the kidnapping of the two soldiers was on 12th July, but the blog has an empty folder from June 2006.

Look at the right side here.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

"Today's conflicts are won by public opinion."
Nah, surely they mean that next months planned conflict is won by public opinion.
Posted by Nigel Johnstone (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So what is your point?
Propoganda and a biased opinion will always be apart of any community driven news medium. What he is talking about is the ability to see a biased opinion on both sides of the debate and making your own choice. Anybody who is going to post a video clip or a blog entry cares enough to take the time out to voice his/her opinion to the world. Obviously they feel strongly about the topic in one way or another, thus bias is unavoidable.

Now the fact that you have thrown in a completely irrelevant website makes me wonder about your bias in the matter. However I would like to thank you for wasting precious seconds of my life (the time it took to realise that you are an idiot).

"Obviously a pufferfish approach to make a little support seem a lot bigger than it really is."

- And the fact that a service that allows people to keep up with current events about a topic they are interested in must be those damn jews spreading their lies to the world again?

I wasn't going to post this because I could think of better things to do with my time, scratching myself for instance, but i decided against it. Turns out scratching mosquito bites just makes things worse.

Let's see if scratching this mosquite bite helps...
Posted by danny_f (14 comments )
Link Flag
Excellent post, Nigel
&gt;"Today's conflicts are won by public opinion."
&gt;Nah, surely they mean that next months planned conflict is won
&gt;by public opinion.

Posted by v1m (72 comments )
Link Flag
June blog entries + Poll Turf
I call it a smoking gun because there is a folder from June in the Blog, the entries that create the folder have been deleted, but the folder is listed, see the right side of the blog archive.

If you are suprised by a July 12th 'kidnapping' of your side's soldiers and wish to show support for your side, the work would have started *after* July 12th and there would be no June folder -&gt; strong indication of preplanned attack.

Likewise the polls attached to foreign language articles, they have no way of reading the article and hence are not voting in response to the article.

I feel strongly that Israel should be paying the $230m war reparations, not USA. Yet Bush has committed USA to paying both Lebanons and Israels rebuilding costs. At the very least he could deduct it from the billions you send Israel each year.
Posted by Nigel Johnstone (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just proves that you yourself bought the propaganda...
There are far too many sides to the whole Israel v. Hezbollah story, too many facets (hint: There's far more players involved than just those two). This requires research and time investment which most who post in here (or Hell, most in the media for that matter) simply cannot, will not, or for some reason do not spend.

It also requires seeing both sides of the story, and using critical reasoning skills to discover the truth in the middle (something else that seems to be utterly lacking in the media - whether it be institutional bias or the lust for drama --facts be damned-- I'll never be able to accurately guess).

Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
war propaganda
I find it an unfortunatly thing of freedom one sided
views "Propaganda" and Well the German Goverment found a way to combat it.
Ogrish for example...."YOU ARE VERBOTEN" to get to that site,PERIOD! Now I am for the American cause of bringing down terrorist,and bringing freedom to a
war ravished region.But dont cut down on my freedom
to choose what I want to read or watch without causing anybody harm.
Posted by jackrabbitslam (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
i have watched many of these videos on youtube...
and I am skeptical... the ones that try to pass as authentic dont seem so.. if someone was going to smuggle war footage, you would think that they would have something to show.. like maybe, graphic details.. not weapon porn

this is a war on us.. liberal minded netizens.. support the troops!! the ones that fight for you!!
Posted by freq (121 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The soldiers in Iraq are fighting for me? Somehow I think you're missing reality.
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
I used to teach Media Literacy...
To help students sort and make sense of the explosion of
information they are exposed to everyday.

The program's budget was cut, the course is no longer available.

I think oneof the most important thiings to realize about these
videos is CONTEXT.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Agreed, though IMHO it's Context, and...
...the propensity for fraud, and the nasty phenomenon that occurs whenever a facts-deprived story is pased around from place to place :)

Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Terrorists + The Far Left = One Voice
I love how the terrorists and the far left speak with the same voice.

The "chimperor" sounds like something that you would hear Russ Feingold or Howard Dean say, or perhaps Al Zarqawi or Bin Laden...

Well, I say bring forth the voices of terrorists and extreme liberals. If we KNOW the hatred of our enemies, we will be more successful in crushing our enemies.
Posted by gerhard_schroeder (311 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Actually, Terrorists + Far Right = One Voice
Terrorists spread what? Anyone? Anyone? That's right! Fear!

The far right spreads what? Anyone? Anyone! That's right, the same thing!
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
far left
Chuckle, chuckle. Your world view reflects someone who has bought hook, line and sinker, the propaganda, proliferated in the U.S. about how we are the 'free world'. And how the U.S. defends their constitution. You really should pay closer attention to what the government is actually doing. They just passed a bill that allows the use of pregnant women and children for pesticide and fertilizer experiments. The use of human beings in notorious experiments were used as a defence by the war criminals from Nazi Germany. This practise has never stopped. They have also used our own sons, and daughters in the military for their experiments.

It is just all so sick. Wake up.

Posted by emeraldgate (53 comments )
Link Flag
Here's some examples of war turf
Here's a couple from, the "Give Israel Your Support" web site and tool that sprung up a few days after Israel had 2 soldiers captured and started its war.

As they say:
"Today's conflicts are won by public opinion.
Now is the time to be active and voice Israel's side to the world."

Except here's the page showing that the blog had had entries from June. It looked like a slipup to me, as though they had been working on it a month earlier and remembered to delete the test messages but not the folders they were in.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Here's a typical example of what that site does:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

"I ask you to sign in and digg the following stories...of course , going around the site's politics and news sections and digging other pro-Israel stories is encouraged"

Odd don't you think, that a war that was supposed to be caused by the capture of 2 Israeli soldiers had it's PR campaign in progress at least a month earlier.
Posted by Nigel Johnstone (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Older than time
<b><a href="">Pearl Harbor</a>
<a href="">Germany invades Poland</a></b><br>
With MemoryTV, you exercise your <a href="">memory</a>
Posted by untethered (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Older than time
Pearl Harbor:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Poland 1939:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by untethered (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It succeeded...
9/11 was not a direct attack on our freedoms. But it succeeded in exactly that direction: as an attack to our freedoms, causing us to make the "Patriot Act" and domestic survelliance. It succeeded because it made us fear the "terrorists". It succeeded because it provoked us for more hostilities toward Middle East, thus feeding hatred to America and feeding extremist mindset.
I wonder how well our "born again" president sleeps knowing that tens of thousands innocent civilians are victims of the war he started. But his conscience cannot be bothered - he doesn't have one.
Posted by alegr (1590 comments )
Reply Link Flag
propaganda and/or opinion
Im sure that some of the people that post these videos do so for
the sake of propaganda. Its not new, its not a surprise and they
are certainly not the only ones doing it. It seems that the news is
filled with propaganda. This is not an insult, it is how wars have
been won for centuries. Everyone spread propaganda. During
the world wars it was widespread, it continued during vietnam
and it goes on every time you watch the TV.
So no big surprises there.
The thing that I am surprised by is the fact that the author of the
article failed to consider the possibility that SOME of these
videos may be anti war videos by people that are actually doing
nothing more than voicing their opinions about a war that they
believe is wrong.

Note that I am suggesting that this is SOME of these videos.

In a country where freedom is valued, people still have the right
to express their opinion and this is clearly a new way that people
are doing that. People are entitled to express their support or
opposition and should be allowed to do so.
Posted by yikes31 (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
prop up u ganja
Anybody that is honestly educated to what is happening in the world and not simply responding with knee-jerk emotionalism will never be swayed one way or the other. Everyone the world over has a sense of what is right and what is wrong(sociopaths not included in this assesment). It's not the spin coming from foreign sources that is the threat. It is the spin our leaders put on things before they get us to deal with them (after the fact) that is dangerous. It doesn't matter the subject.
Posted by aqvarivs (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You've just mentioned "sociopaths"?
Would you not consider Sadam in that catagory?
Posted by K.P.C. (227 comments )
Link Flag
I would think that everyone making money off of killing people are sociopaths. Including the war machine of the U.S. governments.

The American people will foot the bill for reconstruction. It should be the people who made the money off of the armaments that foot the bill.

Posted by emeraldgate (53 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, Bin Laden agrees with everything
You've said it just like Bin Laden says...

America are the terrorists!

Yes, you both agree. Now get back in your Burqua before you are caned.
Posted by gerhard_schroeder (311 comments )
Link Flag
Like the fraud committed by the U.S. government when they said Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that it was a war on terrorism.
The weapons of mass destruction are the U.S. bioweaponery that has been already unleashed on the world. A little slight of hand by the circus hucksters.

Posted by emeraldgate (53 comments )
Reply Link Flag
See...! Liberals do sound like bin Laden
I love you, Miss Jihadi...

You make my argument for me. Tell me that Bush is the terrorist. Tell me that America is the killers of babies.

You are a perfect liberal... I hope you train your children to be effective suicide bombers. Our shock-troop marines have enough armor that your baby should be carrying no less than 20lbs of C4 to make an impact.
Posted by gerhard_schroeder (311 comments )
Link Flag
In Denial
&lt;&lt;The weapons of mass destruction are the U.S. bioweaponery that has been already unleashed on the world. A little slight of hand by the circus hucksters.&gt;&gt;

How is it that Liberals CONTINUE to blatently IGNORE the fact that we actually DID find chemical weapons in Iraq? Its just baffling... as if they are living in outer space and the world is whatever they imagine it to be.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Poor misinformed
what tree did you fall out of?
Posted by johnnydl (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Poor misinformed
what tree did you fall out of? This country has no free press thanks to our dictator George Bush, The Republican party changed the laws so that R. Murdock could buy up the radio, TV stations and print media to completely control the news information in this country. The so called free press is but a propagana machine which attacks anyone who diagrees with the lies by the print and tv or any other news media, handed out by the present coup which has continually has over thrown and stolen elections in state and federal elections, whitch means we are no longer a democrocary just another banana republic. Dose any one out there remember the Nazis, Hitler or Joseph Stalin and now we have become the enemy, just ask the rest of the world . IT IS TIME TO RETAKE OUR COUNTRY.THROW THE SCUMBAGS OUT OF OFFICE.
Posted by johnnydl (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Too late
The sheeple of this country will never admit the truth of your statement until it's too late. Watch as GW fabricates the national emergency towards the end of next year that will allow him to declare martial law and suspend the elections. No one will have the guts to call him on it. Nothing will stop him short of armed insurrection.
Posted by Michael Grogan (308 comments )
Link Flag
right on
Right on.
Posted by emeraldgate (53 comments )
Link Flag
Crazy Loons
You got MSNBC, CNN, FOX, BBC America, and lets not forget FREEDOM to access news sources from overseas... BBC, CBC... and ANY other source you could possibly want.

And still... they want us to believe that George W. Bush has revoked our freedom of press. Wake up and get a fargin clue. Just because you get angry watching TV doesn't mean your rights have been infringed upon. What a hark. The only scumbags I see are the ones trying to scare me into thinking that I've somehow lost freedoms when I'm as free as I was 10 years ago. Get a clue.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
In a world of digital video, anyone can claim anything
It is going to be harder and harder for anyone to determine "the truth" about any issue as more and more people gain access to inexpensive powerful digital editing software. Just as newspapers, magazines, and televison are subverted from the truth in the past years, so now video has diverged from "a picture's worth a 1000 words" to "you can't believe your eyes".

The sooner people realize that there is no way to determine truth in material available from ANY SOURCE - internet, print, broadcast - the sooner they will have a more realistic view from which to judge surrounding events.

I've read for years statements to the effect that "history books are rewritten by the winners of war"... the internet changes that to "history books are rewritten by anyone with an internet link".
Posted by lwvirden (83 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I finally found the video...AFTER having to sign up w YT
Here is the link for those of you who have a You Tube or don't mind going through their dog and pony show to sign up: <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by btljooz (401 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Also, there is the exact same message here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by btljooz (401 comments )
Link Flag
The Internet is such an Information overload that trying to fight a propaganda war on it is a waste of time. It's barely noticeable over the background of JibJab, urban myths, the daily barrage of cartoons and humorous video clips, bogus security alerts and the ever-present stream of Viagara spam. You'd get more attention with a dog whistle at a Slayer concert.
Posted by mh39839 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh Really?!
SO, you tell me: What's the difference between being told lies to our face by our own government and those of the so called truth spreaders in Iraq: He does have a point though: All hail Caesar: All hail George Bush! Emperor for life. Long live the republic (LOL)
Posted by mensa517 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

3 million people in the U.S. will die this year because of Pharmaceuticals.]
The U.S. government has approved the use of pregnant women and children for experiments with pesticides and fertilizers.
The U.S. has the highest medical costs in the world, yet the people are very unhealthy and quickly declining.

The FDA approves the sale of drugs that kill people, accepting fraudulent research, knowingly.
Vioxx killed 60,000 people.

You do not have the right to refuse chemotherapy, if you do you can be arrested and taken from your parents and confined against your will. Your parents will be put in jail.

You do not have the right to refuse to be drugged with Ritalin, if you are a intellegent kid.

The Federal Government with their programme TeenScreen, is criminally diagnosing thousands of American teens with potent and dangerous psychiatic drugs, serving the Pharmaceutical Companies up a whole new lot of customers.

Some of the newest pschiatric 'illnesses' are poor math, poor spelling, poor writing skills. I think these simply reflect poor education. They are not mental illness. Yet, the government not only allows this, but promotes it.

Yeh, who is the terrorist?

I am not a supporter of Bin Laden. I am not a terrorist. I am not a victim of the military propaganda you so willingly swallow. War equals profits for the 'industry'

Posted by emeraldgate (53 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You and bin laden speak with one voice...
But don't you see, you and bin laden are saying the exact same thing. You speak with one voice. You both try to tell us that America is the terrorist, all while islamo-fascists strap explosives to children and detonate them in shopping centers.

You sit here and try to mumble something about how we are just as evil as that... a moral equivalency... youre a sick lady. mentally sick... but I do hope you can convince your far-left congresspeople to use the same language you use. Obviously, your viewpoint is way into the fringe, but it would help us immensely if you can keep saying that up until election time. Thanks!
Posted by gerhard_schroeder (311 comments )
Link Flag
And the Jews pulled off 9/11 right?
You are such a perfect liberal puppet...
Posted by gerhard_schroeder (311 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How funny...
You do know that Gerhard Schröder, your namesake, is a Social Democrat who opposed the invasion of Iraq, right? (See Gerhard Schröder, <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>)

Oh, and by the way - 9/11 had nothing to do with Iraq when you look at the facts. Actually, the people who hijacked the planes were from Saudi Arabia!
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
I enjoyed the anti American website
It was interesting reading the anti American website twist the facts. I found it quite refreshing to see that the opposition, as well as myself, realize that Iran is at the heart to this war and that Iran will have to be the next to go. I hope GWB realizes this too. Keep the videos of the American soldiers killing the baby killers coming. It's nice to see them doing good for the world.
Posted by GrandpaN1947 (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"rebuilding and peace"
"The military mission is supposed to be about rebuilding and
peace," Snow said.

So blowing up buildings, and killing people, is about rebuilding
and peace? Yeah, right. Pigs fly - and Bush, Cheney and
Rumsfeld bring peace and prosperity to Iraq.
Posted by Tui Pohutukawa (366 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Terrorism is ALWAYS about economic despair
Yes, I know we all like to blame our favorite bogeyman: the left, the right, Al Queda, the IRA, Basque sepratists, Milosovic's fact all the way back to our own American revolutionaries...further back to the slaves escaping Pharoh...further back to, well, you get the point.

Or if not, which I suspect lots of you Bushites still don't, here it is just like the subject line says: you don't get willing footsoldiers for ANY kind of uprising when people are fat, happy, and well governed. You do, however, find willing recruits fairly easy to come by from among the desperate, the disenfranchised, and the hopeless.

Add in a little fundamentalist religion, including Christianity (KKK, Nazis anyone?), and you've got a powderkeg.

Guess what we're doing in the Middle East? Making a LOT of people who used to be largely ambivalent about us (in the end, everybody really just wants to live their lives, have some hope for tomorrow, and be left the $%#@ alone by their government) desperate, disenfranchised, and hopeless, all in a land with easy access to a highly fundamentalist religion and tradition.

In other words, we've just single handedly created a HUGE new crop of terrorists or at the very least terrorist recruit candidates by our completely unnecessary and unrelated to the "war on terror" adventure in Iraq. Once those of you on the right admit that this was a colossal mistake and misjudgment and had nothing to do with 9/11 or anything else, then I'll seriously listen to anything you have to say, but until then...

Want a peaceful Middle East? Quit trying to enforce capricious WW1 and WW2 geographic boundaries on ethnic groups that would rather not live together, pour the vast sums of money we're currently using to fight a war (against whom, by the way?) into school/hospital/infrastructure grants to a peaceably elected government(s), and then treat the countries in the region the same way we do China and Mexico -- trade with them, build relationships where they have more to lose by fighting us than by co-existing with us. If you can give a generation of young Middle Eastern men the hope for a stable, middle class family life, a decent job, and decent security, they will have FAR less reason to take up arms against anyone.

Taking out Saddam did nothing except let loose a civil war; taking out Bin Laden will feel good, but it will make him a martyr. If you can marginalize the fanatical leaders, they lose the army they seek to lead. Hitler was successful because he had a really willing audience and could point to the ways the Germans were being oppressed. Guess what Bin Laden's doing? We must remove the crux of their argument, whether it be Bin Laden's, Hezbollah's, the Palestinians' or whomever. We do that by being a force for economic empowerment to the second/third world people (Middle East or otherwise) and by refraining from trying to tell them what form of government is best for them and where they should draw their borders.
Posted by rlaw68 (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.