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The Military- PR industrial Complex: Past and Present

The Sydney Morning Herald (9.1.2008) contains three interesting articles which illuminate the power of the PR industry.

1) The Gulf of Tonkin incidence, according to which North Vietnam attacked US destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, was used by President Lyndon Johnson as a pretext to dramatically escalate US involvement in Vietnam. The then US Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara declared to Congress that the evidence for the attack was “unimpeachable”. A new report shows that these claims were fabricated. The report was released by the National Security Agency responsible for much of the codebreaking by the US and eavesdropping work, in response to a “mandatory declassification” request, the Federation of American Scientists said yesterday. Review of classified documents clearly shows that “no attack” happened that night. But who cares, 45 years ago everybody believed in the attack as claimed by the US government, ably fed to the gullible public by the PR machine, without scrutiny of the evidence.

2) Widely reported in the press, five Iranian speedboats charged at three US Navy ships entering the Persian Gulf. The US President, now in the Near East (or on the way to the Near East) claimed this to be “provocative”, the Iranians, in contrast, said similar incidents in the narrow straits had happened before and had always been resolved when the two sides had identified themselves. Why should Iran, at this moment in time, want to provoke the US?

3) “Israel hiding settlement facts to protect image

The Israeli Government has told a court that it does not want to reveal the true extent of Jewish settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories because the information would damage its image abroad, a local newspaper has reported.” According to the International Court of Justice and accepted by most countries, such settlements are illegal, and the Israeli government is indeed correct in believing that revealing the extent of settlements would damage its image. It seems obvious that the international community is widely unaware of what is happening, largely due to the failure of the PR machine to provide the relevant information.

3 Responses to “The Military- PR industrial Complex: Past and Present”

  1. Klaus Rohde Says:

    Further news on the Persian Gulf incident:

    BBC 10 January 2008: An alleged threat to blow up US warships “may not have come” from Iranian speedboats involved in a recent stand-off, the BBC has learned.
    The voice on a Pentagon tape could instead have come from another ship in the area or a transmitter on land, senior US Navy sources told the BBC.
    The US has sent Iran a formal protest over Sunday’s stand-off in the Strait of Hormuz.
    Iran has accused the US of faking its video of the incident.

    Iranian state-run TV has broadcast a separate video of the stand-off, in which there is no sign of threatening behaviour by the Iranian patrols, thought to belong to the Revolutionary Guards.

    On Wednesday the US lodged a formal diplomatic complaint with the Iranian foreign ministry through the Swiss embassy in Tehran.

    The New York Times noted on Wednesday that the US-released audio includes no ambient noise of the kind that might be expected if the broadcast had come from on one of the speedboats.

    Pentagon officials said the voice heard in the video clip is not directly traceable to the Iranian military, but could still have come from a high quality radio on one of the small boats, the paper reported.
    Iran described the incident as a routine contact which happens all the time in the crowded waters of the Gulf.
    The Pentagon has insisted that the three US vessels – identified as navy cruiser USS Port Royal, destroyer USS Hopper and frigate USS Ingraham – were in international waters.
    The confrontation has further inflamed tensions between arch-foes Iran and the United States.
    US President George W Bush is currently on a tour of the Middle East which will tackle what the Americans see as the threat posed by Iran to regional stability. _

  2. UNE - Klaus Rohde: Science, Politics and Art Says:

    […] have discussed the power of the Military – PR Industrial Complex in two previous posts. Relevant here is a recent article in the Center of Public Integrity (full article […]

  3. UNE - Klaus Rohde: Science, Politics and Art Says:

    […] http://blog.une.edu.au/klausrohde/2008/01/09/the-military-pr-industrial-complex-past-and-present/ […]

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