U.S. Propaganda Activities in the Middle East

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Posted by andreas from dtm2-t7-2.mcbone.net ( on Friday, December 13, 2002 at 6:08PM :

National Security Archive Update, December 13, 2002

*U.S. Propaganda Activities in the Middle East - The Early Years*


For more information contact:
Joyce Battle - jbattle@gwu.edu

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Security Archive at George Washington
University today published on the World Wide Web documents concerned with an
early Cold War campaign to win hearts and minds in the Middle East, launched
50 years before current efforts to achieve United States "public diplomacy
goals in the region.

Soon after the events of September 11, the administration of George W. Bush
announced a wide-ranging campaign to improve the image of America in Arab
countries and in the greater Muslim world. One year later, its results appear
unimpressive: a recent Pew Research Center poll found increasingly unfavorable
international views of the U.S., "most dramatically, in Muslim societies."

The documents collected here describe an earlier program to expand and
revitalize American propaganda directed at the Middle East, and the methods
that were utilized, including graphic displays, manipulation of the news,
books, movies, cartoons, activities directed at schools and universities, and
exchange programs. U.S. propaganda efforts were assisted by collaborating
governments, the news media, academics, publishers, and private associations.
The documents show that many of the factors that generated resentment of the
U.S. during the 1950s, and that impeded the effectiveness of U.S. propaganda,
have persisted into the 21st century.

Topics discussed in the documents include:

* The objectives, targets, and methodology of U.S. propaganda.

* Propaganda planned to win popular acceptance for the shah of Iran after he
was restored to power by a British-American coup.

* Propaganda seeking to enhance America's image by demonstrating its
"overwhelming and increasing industrial and military strength," including its
nuclear capabilities, to Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq.

* The U.S. government's identification of religion, including Saudi Arabia's
conservative interpretation of Islam, as "an important asset in promoting
Western objectives," including anticommunism, in the Middle East.

Follow the link below to view the documents:

THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research
institute and library located at The George Washington University in
Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents
acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public
charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is
supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and

-- andreas
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