The Register 
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
The secretive US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has awarded arms globocorp General Dynamics a $10m contract to set up a network of psychological-warfare “influence websites” supporting the Global War On Terror. France and Britain are specifically included as “targeted regions”.
SOCOM is principally famous for its large contingents of elite, secret operatives from all four US armed services (Navy SEALs, Green Berets, Delta Force, Team-6/DevGru, “the Activity” etc etc). What’s less well-known about the organisation is that it also includes the US forces’ active psychological-warfare apparatus. According (pdf ) to the 4th Airborne Psychological Operations Group – the only full-time psywar unit in the US Army, and part of SOCOM:
PSYOP is the dissemination of truthful information to foreign audiences in support of US policy… these activities are not forms of force, but are force multipliers that use nonviolent means in often violent environments… they rely on logic, fear, desire or other mental factors… The ultimate objective of US military psychological operations is to convince enemy, neutral, and friendly nations and forces to take action favorable to the United States…Their purpose can range from gaining support for US operations to preparing the battlefield for combat.
Now SOCOM’s Joint Military Information Support Command, which “orchestrates a 24/7 multi-media campaign formatted to the cultures and languages of relevant audiences” in “what has become a tough, entrenched war of ideas” has deployed what it calls the Trans-Regional Web Initiative (TRWI). Specs on the programme were issued last year (pdf ) and earlier this month General Dynamics was awarded $10,116,177 to run the Initiative for the first year.
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The Initiative contract goes into detail:
Special Operations Command requires the capability to posture for rapid, on-order global dissemination of web-based influence products and tools in support of strategic and long-term U.S. Government goals…[Contractors will] develop, design, construct, operate, and maintain a series of synchronized influence websites supporting [Global War On Terror] requirements … Government estimates a minimum of two and no more than twelve websites.
The SOCOM psywar sites will be run much in the same fashion as any normal web-media portal. There will be “indigenous content stringers and editors” within “targeted regions” providing 24-hour “original features, news, sports, entertainment, economics, politics, cultural reports, business, and similar items of interest to targeted readers”.
Full story here.