Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Winning Scamming Hearts and Minds
Today's Los Angeles Times reports:
As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq. The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times. [...] The Pentagon has a contract with a small Washington-based firm called Lincoln Group, which helps translate and place the stories.And what, you may ask, is the Lincoln Group? According to SourceWatch, a service of the Center for Media and Democracy,
The Lincoln Group, formed in 1999, is "a D.C.-based business 'intelligence' company that handles services from 'political campaign intelligence' to commercial real estate in Iraq."Isn't that interesting? It was formed right about the time George W. Bush was being anointed as the "frontrunner" in the presidental race. And who is the Lincoln Group? One of its executives is Christian Bailey, who (again according to SourceWatch), was on the Board of Directors for the 2004 Republican National Convention. Billmon reports that Bailey's not the only Bush crony in the operation:
...some details of Iraqex's operations have made it into the press, such in as this story from the Chicago Tribune ("Word Warriors, 2/4/05), which inadvertently highlighted the fact that the most experienced firm in Iraq has a penchant for hiring GOP political hacks with absolutely no experience in Iraq...Gosh, what a surprise. The comments for this Moon of Alabama post contain even more interesting information about Mr. Bailey. Interesting and scary. But then, everything even remotely connected to the Bush regime is scary.When [Jonathan Blessing] and another political consultant who had been working for the Bush campaign in Illinois heard about an opportunity to work for a company doing public relations in Iraq, the two jumped at the chance . . . Blessing and Swift are working for a private company called Iraqex, a subcontractor for the U.S. Department of Defense . . . Swift worked for the Bush-Cheney campaign in Illinois, and Blessing worked for the state GOP....So to sum up: We have a tiny start-up venture, controlled by persons unknown, that suddenly materializes in late 2003 doing "private equity" deals in the middle of a war zone, and then obtains a huge PR contract from the Pentagon, and then hires a bunch of unemployed GOP campaign operatives to execute that contract, and then is absorbed by a shadowy DC company that specializes in corporate and political detective work and that may have close ties to both the Republican Party and the intelligence community, which then is awarded an even bigger contract to produce even more Pentagon propaganda.
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