CIA Propaganda Targets Western Europe


A recently leaked report, which appears to have been produced by the CIA's Red Cell, aims to shore up support for the war in Afghanistan by manipulating public opinion in Western Europe.  The report targets France and Germany as regions which need specially designed messages to stem an eroding popularity for the war.

The report comes shortly after the fall of the Dutch Government, a contest in which troop commitments were a major cause for concern among the electorate.  The report highlights the fragility of European Support for the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.

The report identifies public apathy towards Afghanistan as a main reason that leaders have as yet been able to provide large troop commitments in the face of almost no public support.  It contends that only 0.1% - 1.3% of French and German respondants identified "Afghanistan" as the most major issue facing the nation.

In order to garner support in France, the document outlines human rights issues as central.  It states that the potential humanitarian role of NATO for refugees and civilians should be underscored to increase public support.  It is suggested in the report that Afghan women in particular would be useful in spreading this message.

However, the strategy detailed for Germany would revolve around costs and visible metrics of success.  The report suggests that Afghan optimism about the potential results should be highlighted, in order to assure the German public that their mistrust is ill founded.  In addition, messages which dramatise the consequences of German defeat would also be circulated.

Obama's popularity among the European electorate is also sited as a potential tool for bolstering support.  It is suggested that Obama give direct affirmations of the importance of the Afghan mission.  This was deemed by the report as likely to be effective for both France and Germany.

According to the report: ``the CIA's Red Cell...has been charged by the Director of Intelligence with taking a pronounced "out-of-the-box" approach that will provoke thought and offer an alternative viewpoint on the full range of analytic issues.''

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