Wednesday, December 07, 2005
by Rep. Henry Waxman
The President's claims today are mindboggling. Either he doesn't understand the facts or simply doesn't want to face them. The reconstruction of Iraq has been an enormous boondoggle - not an example of "quiet, steady progress." Halliburton has repeatedly overcharged American taxpayers through fraud, waste, and abuse. The U.S. officials in charge of the reconstruction have been incompetent and, in some cases, corrupt. And billions of dollars have been squandered without increasing oil or electricity production. ...
Monday, December 05, 2005
by James Crawley
The U.S. Special Operations Command has hired three firms to produce newspaper stories,
television broadcasts and Internet 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 over
the next five years.
The Pentagon backed away from a similar media campaign in 2002 when
it closed its Office of Strategic Influence after public and congressional
While federal law prohibits sending propaganda to Americans, some
experts worry that psychological warfare messages, especially disinformation
efforts, might blow back to American audiences via the Internet and satellite
"In this age of the Internet and instant access, it's of great
concern," said Nancy Snow, a propaganda expert at California State
University-Fullerton. "If you plant false stories, how can you control where that story goes? You
Others question whether the money could be better spent.
"I see it as a potential waste of money," said defense analyst
So far, he said, American propaganda efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan
have "produced nothing positive, and it's produced nothing negative."
He suggested the $100 million might be better spent on guns and
A Pentagon spokesman referred questions about the contracts and
psychological operations to the Tampa command. Special operations officials there
were unavailable this week because the command is hosting its annual Special
Operations Forces Week symposium and trade show. Today, Vice President
Dick Cheney will be the closing speaker.
Winning the contracts were Science Applications International Corp.,
SYColeman Inc. and Lincoln Group Corp.
SAIC, a California-based defense contractor, ran the U.S.-sponsored
Iraqi Media Network, a print, radio and television operation, following the
fall of Baghdad in April 2003. The firm was criticized for problems and
exorbitant costs and declined to bid on the contract renewal.
SYColeman, a subsidiary of L-3 Communications based in Arlington,
Va., advertises it created the Army's Web site honoring Sgt. 1st Class Paul
R. Smith, from Tampa, the only Medal of Honor winner so far from the Iraq war.
Lincoln, based in Washington and formerly known as Iraqex, provides
various services, including public relations, in Iraq.
Spokesmen for the companies referred inquiries to the Pentagon.
The companies will get their marching orders from a joint
psychological operations support element created last year to bolster pro-American
images in trouble spots such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although military spokesmen did not answer questions Thursday about
the media campaign, contract proposals provide a broad outline of the planned
Each contractor will receive a minimum stipend of $250,000 during
the first year and $500,000 each subsequent year.
With additional tasks, the entire contract could total $100 million
by 2010, records show.
The contract calls for the firms to produce print articles, video
and audio broadcasts, Internet Web sites and novelty items, such as T-shirts and
bumper stickers, for foreign audiences.