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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-05 08:27 AM
Original message
Firm helps U.S. mold news abroad
Firm helps U.S. mold news abroad
Pentagon also wages war of images, words

By Stephen J. Hedges
Washington Bureau
Published November 13, 2005


WASHINGTON -- In an effort to fight what it sees as an insidious propaganda war waged by terrorists, from incendiary Web sites to one-sided television images of the Iraq war, the Pentagon has been quietly waging its own information battle throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.
One of its primary weapons is a controversial, secretive firm that has been criticized as ineffective and too expensive. The Rendon Group, directed by former Democratic Party political operative John Rendon, has garnered more than $56 million in Pentagon work since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Those contracts list such activities as tracking foreign reporters; "pushing" news favorable to U.S. forces; planting television news segments that promote U.S. positions; and creating a grass-roots voting effort in Puerto Rico on behalf of the Navy, Pentagon records show.The contracts, some of which were obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal that the Bush administration is engaged in a war of images and words with Al Qaeda and other radical groups.
(snip)

But proponents of open government question the role of firms like The Rendon Group, suggesting their work blurs the line between legitimate news and propaganda. And Americans have long been nervous about the notion of the government managing information.
(snip)

The Rendon Group is perhaps best-known for its part in the controversy that surrounded the Pentagon's short-lived Office of Strategic Influence nearly four years ago. A February 2002 New York Times article disclosed the office's existence and reported that the company was part of the effort, which possibly included attempts to plant false news stories abroad.
(snip/...)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-0511130330nov13,1,2426826.story?coll=chi-business-hed
(Free registration required)
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Missy M Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-05 08:33 AM
Response to Original message
1. This is just great !
In an effort to "fight what it sees as an insidious propaganda war waged by terrorists" the US will wage an insidious propaganda war of its own. I sometimes wonder if there are any adults among all these people.
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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-05 08:35 AM
Response to Original message
2. Kkkarl started as a consultant, we need to keep close tabs on these so...
called " Groups " F.D.R. called them the groups that pluck the feather of democracy for their own nests.
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tanyev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-05 08:40 AM
Response to Original message
3. Creating instantaneous outraged mobs?
Afghanistan/Newsweek article?
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-05 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
4. background on the Rendon Group - pure propagandists
Edited on Sun Nov-13-05 10:00 AM by UpInArms
http://www.propagandacritic.com/articles/examples.osi.html

If you liked the lie about the murder of Kuwaiti babies after Iraq's invasion of the oil-rich emirate in 1990, you'll love the Office of Strategic Information.

That is, if the Pentagon's new office of shadow plays survives in the form it had been envisioned.

Last week The New York Times reported that the Defense Department is paying the Rendon Group, a Washington-based international consulting firm, $100,000 per month to help the OSI with a broad campaign that would include "black" propaganda, or disinformation -- commonly known as lies.

This brought to mind one of the most notorious pieces of disinformation promulgated the last time the government wanted to build public support for a war against Iraq. It was fabricated by Hill and Knowlton, one of the world's largest public relations firms. This is the story that in 1990 invading Iraqi soldiers pulled Kuwaiti premature babies from their incubators and left them to die on the cold floor. The Bush administration has scrambled away from the storm of criticism sparked by the Times' report, and the president promised Monday that his government would not lie about defense policy. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on NBC's "Meet the Press": "The person in charge is debating whether it should even exist in its current form, given all the misinformation and adverse publicity it has received."

The OSI was created shortly after Sept. 11 to build public support abroad for the U.S. war on terrorism.

On Wednesday, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith told reporters that the Pentagon would never lie to the public. But United Press International's Pentagon correspondent Pamela Hess wrote that Feith "refused to rule out the possibility that hired guns -- private lobbying or public relations firms with more legal latitude -- would spread misinformation on the Pentagon's behalf."

...more...

http://www.prwatch.org/books/tsigfy10.html

excerpt:

US Congressman Jimmy Hayes of Louisiana - a conservative Democrat who supported the Gulf War - later estimated that the government of Kuwait funded as many as 20 PR, law and lobby firms in its campaign to mobilize US opinion and force against Hussein.72 Participating firms included the Rendon Group, which received a retainer of $100,000 per month for media work, and Neill & Co., which received $50,000 per month for lobbying Congress. Sam Zakhem, a former US ambassador to the oil-rich gulf state of Bahrain, funneled $7.7 million in advertising and lobbying dollars through two front groups, the "Coalition for Americans at Risk" and the "Freedom Task Force." The Coalition, which began in the 1980s as a front for the contras in Nicaragua, prepared and placed TV and newspaper ads, and kept a stable of fifty speakers available for pro-war rallies and publicity events.73

Hill & Knowlton, then the world's largest PR firm, served as mastermind for the Kuwaiti campaign. Its activities alone would have constituted the largest foreign-funded campaign ever aimed at manipulating American public opinion. By law, the Foreign Agents Registration Act should have exposed this propaganda campaign to the American people, but the Justice Department chose not to enforce it. Nine days after Saddam's army marched into Kuwait, the Emir's government agreed to fund a contract under which Hill & Knowlton would represent "Citizens for a Free Kuwait," a classic PR front group designed to hide the real role of the Kuwaiti government and its collusion with the Bush administration. Over the next six months, the Kuwaiti government channeled $11.9 million dollars to Citizens for a Free Kuwait, whose only other funding totalled $17,861 from 78 individuals. Virtually all of CFK's budget - $10.8 million - went to Hill & Knowlton in the form of fees.74

The man running Hill & Knowlton's Washington office was Craig Fuller, one of Bush's closest friends and inside political advisors. The news media never bothered to examine Fuller's role until after the war had ended, but if America's editors had read the PR trade press, they might have noticed this announcement, published in O'Dwyer's PR Services before the fighting began: "Craig L. Fuller, chief of staff to Bush when he was vice-president, has been on the Kuwaiti account at Hill & Knowlton since the first day. He and Dilenschneider at one point made a trip to Saudi Arabia, observing the production of some 20 videotapes, among other chores. The Wirthlin Group, research arm of H&K, was the pollster for the Reagan Administration. . . . Wirthlin has reported receiving $1.1 million in fees for research assignments for the Kuwaitis. Robert K. Gray, Chairman of H&K/USA based in Washington, DC had leading roles in both Reagan campaigns. He has been involved in foreign nation accounts for many years. . . . Lauri J. Fitz-Pegado, account supervisor on the Kuwait account, is a former Foreign Service Officer at the US Information Agency who joined Gray when he set up his firm in 1982."75

...more...

(edited to fix error in posting)
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lostexpectation Donating Member (312 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-05 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
5. 2005
who doing what 2005?
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-05 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
6. I believe this violates rules of the Public Relations Society of America..
and for what it's worth, these people and their firm should lose their membership and certifications.

I could be wrong about that though (I am, after all, wrong 1/12 of the time).

In any case, do those morons actually think having Rush Limbaugh on Armed Forces Radio is a good idea?

The message Limbaugh sends to the world is, "All of America except a lunatic fringe believe what I'm saying. And I'm saying that torturing you and your children is so funny, I'm putting it on t-shirts and selling it. I am Rush Limbaugh, and my message is endorsed and paid for by America. If you hate what I'm saying, then you hate America."

Why hasn't anyone at The Rendon Group passed along an idea like that?

Maybe, the next time foreigners bomb an American hotel in Jordan or Saudi Arabia or Indonesia or Malaysia, they might say, "We did this because of what your spokesperson, Rush Limbaugh, said about my father who was tortured and killed in Abu Ghraib."

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Barrett808 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-05 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
7. Secretive firm helps U.S. wage information war abroad (Rendon Group)
Secretive firm helps U.S. wage information war abroad
By Stephen J. Hedges
Originally published November 13, 2005

WASHINGTON // To fight what it sees as an insidious propaganda war waged by militants, from incendiary Web sites to one-sided television images of the Iraq war, the Pentagon has been quietly waging its own information battle throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

One of its primary weapons is a secretive firm that has been criticized as ineffective and too expensive.

The Rendon Group, directed by former Democratic Party political operative John Rendon, has garnered more than $56 million in work from the Pentagon since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

These contracts list such activities as tracking foreign reporters; "pushing" news favorable to U.S. forces; planting television news segments that promote American positions; and creating a grass-roots voting effort in Puerto Rico on behalf of the U.S. Navy, according to Pentagon records.

The contracts, some of which were obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal that the Bush administration is engaged in a constant war of images and words with al-Qaida and other radical groups.

(more)

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/iraq/bal-te.pentagon13nov13,0,1642188.story?coll=bal-nationworld-headlines


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Angry Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-05 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
8. SAIC et al. were ALSO hired to do the same (another article)
Psychological Warfare Effort to be Outsourced
Army command hires three firms to sway Afghans and Iraqis
The U.S. Special Operations Command has hired three firms to produce newspaper stories, television broadcasts and Web sites to spread American propaganda overseas.

The Tampa-based military headquarters, which oversees commandos and psychological warfare, may spend up to $100 million for the media campaign in the next five years.
<snip>
The contract calls for the firms to produce print articles, video and audio broadcasts, Internet sites and novelty items, like T-shirts and bumper stickers, for foreign audiences.

Video products will include newscasts, hour-long TV shows and commercials.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0610-01.htm
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-05 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
9. seems to me we have Fox news--same ol' same ol'...
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ShockediSay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-05 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
10. "Mold" is right
as in fetid,rotting, dead.
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