The Republicans have been caught flat-footed, with Senator John Warner waffling and flip-flopping over whether or not to investigate the Penatgon. But it is clear that the Bush administration is incapable of carrying on an honest debate over Iraq. Therefore, instead of trying to do so, they pay off journalists in Iraq to pass off propaganda as news.
Not to be confused with an actor of the same name, Garfield has ties to Conservative foreign policy think tanks, Blackwater (a major private contractor in Iraq), and Paul Bremer. He conducted a counterterrorism exercise on the grounds of Blackwater's property. This was an exercise in which participants tried to think of themselves as terrorists.The program itself is called the Mirror Image program, developed by the Terrorism Research Center.
The Terrorism Research Center itself is a right-wing think tank with ties to former Iran-Contra figure John Poindexter. From their website:
We are pleased to have the following speakers confirmed: Brian Michael Jenkins, Ambassador Cofer Black, Admiral John Poindexter, Michael Scheuer, Walter Purdy, Colonel Danny McKnight, Jennifer Hardwick, Lt. John Sullivan, Lt. Roger Kelly, Don Hewitt, Rebecca Givner-Forbes, Ned Moran and a special guest from London.
Robert L. Freedman
Chairman of the Board
Bruce H. Hooper
Vice Chairman of the Board
Samuel J. Savitz
Vice Chairman of the Board
Vice Chairman of the Board
Harvey Sicherman, Ph.D.
President & Director
Alan H. Luxenberg
Vice President & Secretary
Charles B. Grace, Jr.
So, one of the big questions is the full extent and nature of Garfield's ties with Bremer as well as the Blackwater Group. In addition, if we can tie Garfield with Poindexter, it will help show a continum of intrigue that has stretched from Nixon to Bush II.
Furthermore, another question is, who are these people, and what are their ties to the Bush administration?
Bailey directly stood to benefit from the Iraq payola scandal. He works for many of the companies that have gotten business from the War in Iraq:
Christian Bailey, according to his Lincoln Group profile (http://www.lincolngroup.com/), is executive vice president of capital markets:
"As Executive Vice President, Christian Bailey leads the evaluation and structuring of emerging markets investment transactions, as well as the development of key partner and co-investor relationships. Investments completed to date include four in Iraq: steel reprocessing at six sites near Basra, property in Baghdad, and two brick factories near Erbil. Mr. Bailey also develops key partner relationships supporting Lincoln Group's professional services arm supporting commercial and government clients with information gathering & analysis; and outreach through PR, advertising & strategic communications. Mr. Bailey formerly served as a Managing Director at Lincoln Asset Management Group where he led the defense technology private equity group. Previously, Mr. Bailey founded Akaru, an international trade logistics provider which became the largest worldwide in automating customs clearance and settlement and was ultimately acquired by NewChannel in 2001. After stepping down as CEO, Mr. Bailey was invited to serve as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at one of Akaru's Venture Capital investors in Palo Alto, CA where he advised portfolio companies and identified, evaluated and developed emerging technology investments, including sourcing and nurturing spin-outs from Raytheon and Kodak. Mr. Bailey has served as a volunteer with and officer of Junior Achievement and DonorsChoose. He holds a Bachelors and a Masters in Economics and Management from the University of Oxford."
He is the "former CEO of ExpressAction.
There is no information to be found on Express Action; their domain is for sale. But we also know from the Sourcewatch site that Bailey was chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in New York. This means that the White House had the Lincoln Group do this as a reward to political contributors; in other words, this is a form of legalized bribery.
He is also chair of Lead21, a group designed to train Republican business leaders.
Lincoln scrubs people's names from site.
Beltway Pinto Beans reports that Lincoln has scrubbed the names of several people from their site, including Bailey and the following three people:
# Huy Kameron Hoang - Director, Lincoln Innovation Lab
# James Sutton - Country Manager, Iraq
# Brian Swift - Project Manager, IBC
Is this the site of IBC? This is a very shadowy site, with no references to anybody who works for them. I went to their sitemap and then to their organizational structure. They list the following six partners:
The International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers
The Institution of Electrical Engineers
IEEE Broadcast Technology Society
The Royal Television Society
The Society of Cable Telecommunication Engineers
The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
They have an organizational overview on the page as well. However, they have no links to their organizational divisions and no people listed as being in charge of this group.
As for Sutton, he may have been the lead man for Iraq, given his listing for that country. And we find no links for Hoang on Google.
Beltway Pinto Beans found an interview with Bailey from The New York Times August 31st issue, in which he admitted that the purpose of Lead 21 was to cultivate new business leaders who would be major donors to the GOP in five years' time. Therefore, Bailey's appointment was a reward for his job; I suggest his job was to cultivate Iraqi journalists into propagandists like he has with Lead 21.
IraqEx was the company formed by Lincon to actually disseminate the propaganda. The Bush administration provided them with offices; they had as many as 300 employees whose job was to spread propaganda for the Bush administration to the Iraq media. SourceWatch reveals the full extent of their work:
Iraqex (Iraqex LLC) was "formed with the backing of Lincoln Asset Management Group  (http://www.lincolnam.com/) (http://www.lincolnam.com/...) with the assistance of a cadre of investors, to pursue private sector opportunities in Iraq. Iraqex brings a unique combination of expertise in collecting and exploiting information; structuring transactions; and mitigating risks through due diligence, legal strategies and security. Iraqex has developed subsidiaries and private equity investments in Iraq spanning commercial real estate, manufacturing, metals, transportation, and communications.
"Iraqex recently won a three-year contract to provide all Public Relations, outreach, and media monitoring & analysis for Coalition Forces across Iraq. This includes:
* Providing Strategic Counsel
* Creation of a Strategic Public Relations and Advertising Plan
* Outreach to Target Audiences
* Research, Polling and Media Monitoring
* Production Advice and Support
* Development of Products
* Recruiting, Training, and Preparing local Spokespersons
* Development of a Rapid Reaction Team
* Advanced Information Systems
"This is the PR challenge of the decade: how to alter Iraqis' perceptions of the Coalition Forces. We've been given wide latitude and urged to be creative in the approaches we take. We also have a good budget and use of the Coalition's assets across Iraq.
"Iraqex benefits from strong relationships in Iraq, the U.S. and internationally. In Iraq, it has cultivated relationships with the Iraqi national government, municipalities, tribal leaders, prominent families, and the business community. Iraqex has a thriving network of offices from Basra in the South to Zakho in the North and has worked with over 300 Iraqi journalists. In the U.S., Iraqex partners enjoy select relationships in Congress," the Bush administration, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Export-Import Bank of the United States, and the U.S. Department of State.
In other words, the Bush administration gave them completely open access to information not accessable to other journalists so that they could pay as many as 300 journalists to pass off propaganda as news.
Obviously, their mission to alter the Iraqis' perceptions of coalition forces has been a colossal failure. 82% of Iraqis oppose our presence in Iraq for an obvious reason: No amount of propaganda will bring back friends or loved ones who have been killed by coalition forces. This effort is tantamount to banging one's head against the wall.
Pinto reports that Lincoln subcontracts to the following people:
A theory of SUPER CONSPIRACY deepens when you see that Lincoln Group has listed as a sub contractor, the Republican Power House and King maker BKSH and Associates, and organization presented a bipartisan, but is actually a part of Burso-Marstell (supposedly world's fifth largest PR firm), which is run by world reknowned Republican strategist Charles R. Black, Jr., who served both Ronald Reagan, and the first President Bush as well as acting as a spokesperson for the Republican Party. The firms LOBBYIST specialize in the design and execution of programs to help shape public policy. Cozy relationship in light of the purported purpose and scope of the Pentagon's 100 Million dollar contract with Lincoln Group when you consider that BKSH brags about its ability to mount US, pan-European and transatlantic campaigns. Odder still, is the fact that The New Yorker back in February of 2004 reported that Black was considering opening up an office in Bahgdad...just months before Lincoln Group(Iraqex) got their first major contract (over five million dollars) in September of 2004. Did they have inside information?
BSKH is a PR firm which openly specializes in the dissemination of American propaganda worldwide. They partner with Burson Marsteller and Civitas Group. Civitas is a bipartisan firm which consults on security issues for federal, state, and local governmental issues. They are run by Milton Hershmann; their board is chaired by former Senator Warren Rudman. Among their people is Richard Clarke. Bursto-Marsell is run by the right-winger Charles Black, a long-time political consultant who managed the Jesse Helms campaign, among others. He also serves on the board of the American Conservative Union according to the Sourcewatch link.
In a subsequent post, Pintobeans discusses the role of Paige Craig. Craig is quoted in the September 27th 2004 Lebanon Daily Star as follows:
"Iraq businesses upbeat despite security fears," Agence France Presse, September 27, 2004: "Paige Craig, executive vice president of Iraqex, a US firm involved in a range of activities from manufacturing construction materials to `providing logistics' for US forces, disagreed with the general view that the security situation was deteriorating. ... `People think it's getting worse because they only pay attention to foreigners (who are being taken hostage and often executed). But it's definitely more secure now than it was' a year ago, he told AFP."
Odd in this article, that included in the list of services Lincoln Group (Iragex) that they are providing is "logistics for US forces". When was the last time that a simple PR firm provides logistical support? Further, what construction materials are they manufacturing, and are there even more hidden contracts, and or secret operations associated with them? The claim of providing US troops with Logistical support has a certain air of AUTHORITY, and makes one wonder if we are looking at something more along the lines of a company created as political pay back for a host of Bush Cronies, including perhaps various members of the World Intelligence Community when we look briefly at the resume of another board member, Andrew Garfield.
This does not pass the smell test for Pinto, and it does not pass the smell test for me either. This story makes me wonder if much of the money that was supposed to go for construction actually went to the pockets of people like Craig, Christian, and other contributors who have worked for right-wing causes over the years.
This would explain why war defenders are wringing their hands over all of the construction projects missed by the media in favor of bad news. The war defenders see what they want to see (the contruction projects), while the media reports nothing about them. This suggests the possibility that taxpayer dollars that were supposed to go to construction actually went to places like The Lincoln Group and their allies.
Baghdad Press Club:
U.S. officials in Washington said the payments were made through the Baghdad Press Club, an organization they said was created more than a year ago by U.S. Army officers. They are part of an extensive American military-run information campaign -- including psychological warfare experts -- intended to build popular support for U.S.-led stabilization efforts and erode support for Sunni Muslim insurgents.
Members of the Press Club are paid as much as $ 200 a month, depending on how many positive pieces they produce.
Under military rules, information operations are restricted to influencing the attitudes and behavior of foreign governments and people. One form of information operations -- psychological warfare -- can use doctored or false information to deceive or damage the enemy or to bolster support for American efforts.
Many military officials, however, said they were concerned that the payments to Iraqi journalists and other covert information operations in Iraq had become so extensive that they were corroding the effort to build democracy and undermining U.S. credibility in Iraq. They also worry that information in the Iraqi press that's been planted or paid for by the U.S. military could "blow back" to the American public.
I could find no links to the Baghdad Press Club on Google; this suggests that the Bush administration has something else to hide, given the nature of secrecy here. Also, the San Jose Mercury News, for some reason, scrubbed the reference to the Baghdad Press Club, although it was on there as of December 1st. This goes back to the recommended Kos diary of a few days ago, where editors were scrubbing quotes from Ted Kennedy because "We already know what he thinks." But the original story from KR is still there.
Knight-Ridder shows the full extent of the operation, including people specializing in psy-ops taking reporters on a tour of the Iraqi-Syria border:
The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that the U.S. military has been paying Iraqi newspapers to print pro-American stories written by U.S. information operations troops.
A Knight Ridder investigation has found that the American military's information operations have been far more extensive.
In addition to the Army's secret payments to Iraqi newspaper, radio and television journalists for positive stories, U.S. psychological-warfare officers have been involved in writing news releases and drafting media strategies for top commanders, two defense officials said.
On at least one occasion, psychological warfare specialists have taken a group of international journalists on a tour of Iraq's border with Syria, a route used by Islamic terrorists and arms smugglers, one of the officials said.
Usually, these duties are the responsibility of military public-affairs officers.
In other words, they are showing journalists what they want them to see, and not the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
"I don't believe in checks and balances."
The Bush administration will go to no ends to pay off journalists through propaganda. Many of the Iraqi journalists are desperately poor and would jump at the lucrative Pentagon dollars to report Bush administration propaganda as news. And don't take my word for it:
However, a current American official and a second former U.S. official, both of whom served in Iraq, said the attempt to jump-start independent Iraqi media -- described by the current official as "priming the pump" -- quickly mushroomed into a much more ambitious and entrenched effort to influence what was being reported in the Iraqi media.
"The Iraqis learned that if they reported stuff we liked, they'd get paid, and our guys learned that if they paid the Iraqis, they'd report stuff we liked," the former senior defense official said.
While the Pentagon's media campaign in Iraq harks back to CIA efforts in Italy, Greece and elsewhere after World War II to discredit communism and promote pro-Western ideas, it also reflects a widespread belief by some Bush administration officials that the news media are merely another interest group to be spun, influenced, bullied or, if necessary, bought or rented.
"They don't represent the public any more than other people do," White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card once said, as quoted in The New Yorker magazine. "In our democracy, the people who represent the public stood for election. I don't believe you have a check-and-balance function."