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"I Was a Propaganda Intern in Iraq"

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:18 AM
Original message
"I Was a Propaganda Intern in Iraq"
Edited on Mon Aug-21-06 11:38 AM by babylonsister
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/21/134...

We speak with Willem Marx, a former intern with the Washington-based government contractor, the Lincoln Group. He spent a summer in Baghdad paying to plant pro-American articles secretly written by the U.S. military in the Iraqi press. He held a loaded submachine gun while being driven through Baghdad by two Kurdish security men.

He had three million dollars in cash locked inside his bedroom in the Green Zone.

Armed with a gun, he interrogated Iraqi employees about whether they were doing their job.

He spent a summer in Baghdad paying to plant pro-American articles in the Iraqi press that were secretly written by the US military.

He was just 22 years old and he was an intern at the Lincoln Group, the Washington-based government contractor. The company gained notoriety last November after the Los Angeles Times first revealed it was being paid by the Pentagon to plant stories in the Iraqi press as part of a secret military propaganda campaign. A subsequent Pentagon investigation in March cleared the Lincoln Group of any wrongdoing.

Today, we speak with that former intern of the Lincoln Group. Willem Marx is a freelance writer and a graduate student in journalism at New York University. His article detailing his experience is published in the latest issue of Harpers Magazine. It's titled "Misinformation Intern: My summer as a military propagandist in Iraq." He joins us on the line from Uzbekistan.

* Willem Marx, former intern with the Lincoln Group in Iraq.

RUSH TRANSCRIPT


AMY GOODMAN: Today, we speak with that former intern of the Lincoln Group -- his name, Willem Marx. He joins us on the line from Uzbekistan. He's a freelance writer and a graduate student in journalism at New York University. His piece -- his latest piece appears in Harper's magazine, detailing his experience. Its called Misinformation Intern: My Summer as a Military Propagandist in Iraq. Willem Marx, thank you for joining us.

WILLEM MARX: Hi, Amy. Good to be with you.

AMY GOODMAN: It's good to have you with us. Well, why don't you start out just explaining, how did you get this job?

WILLEM MARX: Well, it started when I was approaching my final exams at Oxford just over a year ago, and a cousin of mine who lived in New York told me about a company that was offering internships in Baghdad. I had a place to study at NYU the following September, and I thought that a summer working in Iraq would be a very good experience for me as a burgeoning young reporter. And I sent off my resume. I saw a sort of position offered as a media intern. It didn't give a huge amount of detail. And it seemed like an opportunity that very few people my age would get. And having sent off my resume, I was contacted by the company, went through a few telephone interviews, and soon found myself flying over to D.C. to pick up a military identification card and then, a few days later, landing in Baghdad.

AMY GOODMAN: When you came to this country, you met the founders of the Lincoln Group?

WILLEM MARX: Yes, I did. Two men -- one called Christian Bailey, who is a Brit like me, and another former Marine called Paige Craig, who -- they have their headquarters in Washington, D.C.

AMY GOODMAN: And can you tell us any more about them and about that part of --

WILLEM MARX: Absolutely. Absolutely. I arrived in D.C., having not been there for a few years, since I visited a cousin at a university there. I didn't know the city very well. They put me up in a hotel near their office, and the morning after I had arrived, I walked up there. It was on K Street, the heart of the lobbying industry. And I was introduced to both of them. Paige Craig was very military, not particularly friendly, and just, you know, muttered a few words to me, whereas Christian Bailey had also gone to Oxford, and so we chatted about that for a while.

Neither of them were very forthcoming really about what I would be doing out in Iraq. Pretty sort of sketchy on details. But both, you know, were telling me there were great opportunities for young people like me. They were a company that was growing rapidly. And they welcomed me on board and wished me good luck.

AMY GOODMAN: Willem Marx, we're going to break, and then we're going to come back to hear about your time in Iraq, your time in the Green Zone and out. Willem Marx, former intern with the Lincoln Group. Stay with us.

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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:24 AM
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1. Any relation to Karl, ya gotta wonder? NT
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:24 AM
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2. file under "can't happen here"
:sarcasm:
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:26 AM
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3. Recommended
ain't that America...
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speedoo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
4. Three million, huh? Blood money.
And our tax dollars at work.

We have to end this insanity.
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Straight Shooter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Catapults are very expensive in times of war. n/t
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Reckon Donating Member (729 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 03:00 PM
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6. That's nothing..
The Right plants 3 or 4 anti-left stories in our media daily.

When will the leaders of the left take back our part of the media. We need the lefty people with money to buy a news channel. That should be a top priority.
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CollegeDUer Donating Member (452 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 03:04 PM
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7. Amy Goodman: THE American media
She's the only one worthy of being called a journalist. Ok maybe Greg Palast but he works for the BBC.
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