Errol Morris, "Photography as a Weapon," New York Times 11 August, 2008
Anyone remotely concerned with propaganda, public diplomacy, disinformation, public relations, agents provocateurs, communications, information operations (you get the point: the use and misuse of images and information) should read Errol Morris in the NYT. Yes, it's an erudite discussion between Morris (most recent film: Standard Operating Procedure, about Abu Ghraib) and Charles Johnson (who unmasked Iranian photo-manipulation of its missile launch in his blog "Little Green Footballs") and Dartmouth's Hany Farid, an expert on digital fraud.
But most fun are the digital illustrations throughout the piece, with prize-winning doctorings of the Iranian fauxtograph. Be sure to read the footnotes too, plus all the links to Johnson's and others' work.
It's good fun, but deadly serious. After all, staged "incidents" have launched and justified wars from the British land grab of Zulu territory to the Gulf of Tonkin... to Colin Powell's "Curve Ball" moment at the United Nations. Next time you hear about Iranian speedboats harassing American aircraft carriers, think of Errol Morris and his friends, reserve your judgment, and check the pixels.