..." the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person; also - ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause"...
- Webster's Dictionary
The first victim in any war is the truth, it is said. Furthermore, it is said that there are at least three sides to every truth: my truth, your truth and the real truth. Propaganda is the means to dehumanize and demonize your opponent, for which purpose national, racial and religious prejudices, disinformation and downright lies are used. Propaganda appeals to one's emotions and fears, not logic. During peacetime, the most common use of propaganda are advertising and commercials.
[Propaganda @ Wikipedia]
[Propaganda, Then and Now]
[On Cointelpro - featuring some general points on the mechanics of propaganda]
[Persuasion Analysis by Hugh Rank]
[Steve's Primer of Practical Persuasion and Influence]
[The Logical Fallacies by Stephen Downes]
More links (note: pHinnWeb can't guarantee the continuing validity of these):