Charlie Black Catapulting the Propaganda

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May 14, 2008 3:25 p.m.
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I see that all the foreign lobbying work done by the various lobbyists running John McCain’s presidential campaign is now becoming a big story. And after the two lobbyists for the Burmese dictatorship had to leave, attention has now focused on Charlie Black, McCain’s top advisor.

Now Black’s been an interest of ours at TPM for years. So when it comes to foreign lobbying, I’m most interested in the work Black and his firm have done for various parties in Iraq.

Remember, Black worked on behalf of none other than Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, the arch-WMD and Iraq-al Qaeda bamboozler who now complacently says that whatever garbage he sold the Americans that was just the cost of doing business and he got us to get rid of Saddam so basically whatever it took, who cares?

But here’s another chapter of Black’s work on the Iraq bamboozlement front that I’m not sure has gotten that much attention.

You may remember that back in late 2005 news emerged that the Pentagon had contracted with an outfit called The Lincoln Group to pay off Iraqi journalists to ‘write’ articles about just how great things were going in their country despite all the negative reports being filed by the biased Western media. Not only was that problematic in terms of our democratizing Iraq but a lot of that ‘good news’ from Iraqi journalists ended up making its way back into the American media stream, often becoming fodder for right wing bloggers and columnists arguing that the American people weren’t getting the real story about how good things were going.

Here’s an article from December 1st, 2005 in the Times that gives the basic run-down of the story.

But as we noted at the time, The Lincoln Group appears to have turned around and subcontracted the Iraqi ‘good news’ psy-ops account to none other than Charlie Black’s lobbying outfit.

The following update ran in the July 27th 2005 edition of the PR industry trade sheet, Jack O’Dwyer’s Newsletter …

Burson-Marsteller’s BKSH & Assocs. has been hired by The Lincoln Group, one of three firms selected last month by the U.S. Special Operations Command, to wage psychological warfare on behalf of the Pentagon in Iraq and other hot spots.

Chairman Charlie Black, the former Republican National Committee spokesperson and advisor to Presidents Reagan and Bush, heads the account with Gardner Peckham, senior policy advisor to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

BKSH has experience on the Iraqi front earned from work for Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress.

Col. James Treadwell, director of the Joint Psychological Operations Support Element, said TLG was selected to develop “cutting-edge types of media,” including radio/TV ads, documentaries, text messages, Internet spots and podcasts for the U.S. military.

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