Editorial: The Real Enemy and What YOU Can Do
Last week I wrote an editorial to kick off our Semi-annual Fundraiser. In that editorial I quoted a popular political action group's fund-raising report that informs us that, from 6,613 contributors, they were able to raise $389,900 in a single DAY. That averages out to $58.00 per person. Not a big expenditure for everyone, but the total is what is amazing. That total is a result of the large base of supporters they have which they have as a result of early advertising and very public and prominent activities where they make a big splash but actually accomplish zilch. They added that "This generosity gives us a great deal of hope." I, on the other hand, did not express much hope at all that pursuing change via political action within the existing system would accomplish a thing.
As I pointed out, "The hoopla about spying on innocent Americans to ferret out terrorists is just a smokescreen; [Bush's illegal spying is] purely and simply, to spy on political opponents, journalists, and to obtain material for blackmail so as to completely control the political process.
And that means that all those hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars even, that are flowing into the coffers of various “Political Action” groups are all going to waste. It's all for nothing. Nothing will change. They will spend your money, make a big show, make a good living off of it, and nothing, NOTHING, will change.
Since the SOTT team regularly has "brain-storming" meetings to discuss what we see on the global stage, this issue has naturally been on the table a time or two. As our readers may know, we scour the web for the news, trying, if at all possible, to create the picture of what is really going on from credible sources. We often contrast one mainstream source against another in order to show the reader how things get twisted and distorted and even misrepresented. We utilize flashbacks and special reports on key issues to show the historical development so that the reader may have a broader and deeper view. This approach to "seeing" is founded on our more esoteric work. We believe that if an individual has a philosophy, it ought to manifest in their life and work across the board. We here at SOTT consider the present state of our world as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. Pierre LaPlace wrote:
Consider an intelligence which, at any instant, could have a knowledge of all forces controlling nature together with the momentary conditions of all the entities of which nature consists. If this intelligence were powerful enough to submit all this data to analysis it would be able to embrace in a single formula the movements of the largest bodies in the universe and those of the lightest atoms; for it, nothing would be uncertain; the future and the past would be equally present to its eyes.
Obviously, what LaPlace was proposing is a bit out of reach for most of us, but with a cooperative of researchers who all contribute input to the image of our world we are building, we can go in the direction of such an "intelligence" that can see past, present, and future. And certainly, by seeing past and present in as broad and deep a manner as possible, we are much better equipped to know the future and whether or not we like it, and if we don't like it, to make different choices NOW that will shape that future differently..
And here is where we encounter the BIG PROBLEM.
If knowing the truth about reality can help us to make advantageous decisions and choices and take certain actions based on what IS, then certainly, hiding the truth from us can prevent us from making those decisions, choices, and actions that will lead to a positive future.
Those who control information, those who can conceal from us the data that we need to assemble an accurate picture of our reality seem to be working to create a future favorable to themselves, one that is NOT beneficial to all of humanity. So it has always been. From a historical point of view, the ONLY reality is that of conspiracy. Secrecy, wealth and independence add up to power. ...Deception is the key element of warfare, (the tool of power elites), and when winning is all that matters, the conventional morality held by ordinary people becomes an impediment. Secrecy stems from a pervasive and fundamental element of life in our world, that those
who are at the top of the heap will always take whatever steps are necessary
to maintain the status quo.
And maintaining the "status quo" in our world means controlling information.
We have thought about this a lot here at SOTT. As we comb through hundreds of news articles daily, seeing the twists and turns and outright lies and disinformation, tracing each thread to try to find out what is really wrong here, why can't we get - for God's sake - a single source that isn't playing games, lying and distorting - we realize that the BIG PROBLEM is the MEDIA.
Nothing evil that has been done for millennia would have been possible if people truly had the information they needed. And they don't have it because the MEDIA goes to so much trouble to either hide it or distort it or make a big splash about lies, and put the important truths on the inside back page of section D of the newspaper, if it is reported at all. SPIN is everything. Publicity is everything. The masses of people in the United States and elsewhere who simply don't have the time or energy or wherewithal to investigate for themselves, or the inner will to stand against what is presented to them as the "received truth" of all their peers, their families, neighbors and friends, will continue down the Primrose Path to total destruction as long as the MEDIA continues to conceal, to distort, to twist, and spin information in favor of those at the "top of the heap" who are determined to see that they remain at the top.
So our problem - the problem of everyone - is the MEDIA.
Now, certainly, there are quite a few alternative media sites - such as our our own - that try to bring a more balanced picture. But, you don't think that the folks at the Top of the Heap are going to allow anyone to get out there and do a better job of reporting the truth and get away with it, do you?
Of course not.
How are they going to stop it without appearing to do so?
Why, COINTELPRO, of course.
Now, I've written about this subject to the point that I am sure that some of you are sick of it. The problem is, it's everywhere, and it is well-funded. People like us don't have a chance against the backers of these kinds of operations. Not without your help, we don't. And even with help, it's going to be rough going - as it has been for the past five years.
So, not only do we have the MEDIA and its lies to contend with, we have COINTELPRO.
It's not looking good, is it?
For any new readers, let me just briefly recap and give you some links.
COINTELPRO's main weapon of choice is Slander (including libel) and Defamation. There is a reason for this: smearing a person makes it so that their effectiveness is diminished because those people who have little time, energy or wherewithal to do their own investigating won't take the time to find out if the defamatory statements are true or not, and if there is a well organized campaign, they also won't want to "go against" what their family, friends and neighbors believe. There are many recent examples of this tried and true tactic evident in the activities of the Neocons, including the "Swiftboat" nonsense and Plamegate. Those campaigns were directed against individuals and had to be stitched together in a hurry. A more comprehensive campaign, such as the demonizing of Muslims goes on over a longer period of time. Of course, what they want to do with the Muslims is kill them all so the process must be more thorough and broader in scope than just going after someone's personal reputation.
Nevertheless, the main weapon of COINTELPRO still remains Slander and Defamation. We know it all too well because such a campaign was launched against us back in 2001, which was, of course, curious timing, don't you think? At the very time that the Neocons made their big move to lock-down the flow of information, we became one of the first casualties of the Information War. And it hasn't let up since, I should add. As I wrote on my BLOG:
Now, one of the interesting things we have observed about COINTELPRO is the way it shifts and warps in response to possible exposure. I believe that I was the first to realize the extent and nature of the operation, and I began publishing my speculations about it in the Adventures With Cassiopaea series back in early 2002. Not too long after that, individuals that I KNEW to be "agents" of COINTELPRO began to start ranting about COINTELPRO and pointing the finger this way and that way. Up to this point in time, the lid had pretty much remained shut on the subject - I guess they were hoping that people would forget about it, or think that it was over and done with back in the 70s, nothing to worry about now!
But nope, I saw it and wrote about it and they just had to do something. So, in typical COINTELPRO fashion, they started producing endless noise to obscure the signal. [...
And then, in another Blogpost:
Robin Ramsay, Editor of Lobster, writes in this month's issue of Fortean Times:
"[After 1996 was when] the Internet began to take hold of our intellectual lives and conspiracy theories transferred from TV and magazines onto the Net, where - ever since - they appear to have been something of a worry to our masters in Washington.
"The existence of the Internet means that it is no longer as easy to control public perception as it was during the good old days of the Cold War, when mass media were fewer and more manageable, newspaper and TV editors could be recruited or bought by the authorities and stories planted with ease in the press.
"Recently, the US State Department has begun trying to rebut some of the current conspiracy theories about America. Their first targets were a couple of websites - www.rense.com and Conspiracy Planet - and the late Joe Vialls, an Australian. What a boost for the named sites! Attacked by the State Department![...]
"[Y]ou don't have to be a PR genius to see that what you simply mustn't do is launch official attacks: all they do is amplify and legitimise the theories by announcing that they are deemed to be worth attacking." [Fortean Times 206, February 2006, p. 19] [...]
So certainly, we would expect real COINTELPRO operations to be attacked "officially" in order to legitimize them, but as those who have figured out the real answers will not be martyred. It's way too dangerous. Keep in mind that we aren't dealing with stupid people here; they have "motivation masters" working 24/7 to manipulate the public. One of their ideas was the now well-known COINTELPRO "Third Party Attack Protocol." This includes setting up bogus groups and operations - sometimes at HUGE expense - in order to not only be a "Tar Baby" but also, when needed, to launch attacks against bona fide groups and or individuals with no one ever suspecting that it is a State Supported attack.
And, as I noted above, COINTELPRO shifts and warps in response to possible exposure. Let's look at a typical example here:
Fair and Balanced?: Death Threats Hit Prominent Political Columnists
by Todd Brendan Fahey
February 13, 2006
The headline of the story would make you think that Paul Krugman or Maureen Dowd or some major international journalistic figure was the subject. Keep in mind, as you read the story, that the author, Todd Brendan Fahey, "has served as aide to former Congressman John B. Conlan, former Arizona Governor Evan Mecham, to CIA officer Theodore L. Humes and to the late Defense Intelligence Agency chief, Lt. General Daniel O. Graham."
James Hall publishes as "SARTRE" throughout the Web. Perhaps the most prolific right-wing columnist on the 'net, he keeps to himself in private life. Long retired as a political strategist, Hall is no longer a believer in organized politics--though very much still a believer in and spokesman for Jeffersonian anti-federalist, limited government ideology.
And so he was surprised to answer his unlisted phone number on January 30th, to the question that was asked three times in succession: "Is this SARTRE?" (His response each time: "Who is calling?"). Finally, the caller shouted, "We know who you are!", followed by a death threat that he has divulged only to the New York state police department in his area, which he alerted immediately.
Says Hall, "No one calls for Sartre on my home phone number."
The *64 function on his phone brought back a Toronto, Canada phone number (416-785-4574) owned by Dr. Laurence B. Shiff, 327 Cortleigh Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario MSN 1R2 CA. Friends assisted Hall in some Google sleuthing, and which reveals Dr. Shiff an officer of the Kaspu Corporation. When relaying the events to longtime SARTRE publisher Jeff Rense, Rense said: "That's the same number I've been getting threats from, and two of my other writers."
The morning of Hall's telephone death threat, he had published an incendiary piece titled "Hamas, Israel and the United States," which went 'net-wide and which, later in the week, resulted in his being dropped from New Media Alliance--ostensibly, a start-up conservative news bureau. The article calls for a complete severing of the "USrael alliance," as a danger to American citizens and an affront to the Constitution.
Two weeks before the threat received by James Hall, fellow Rense.com writer Kurt Nimmo closed down his blog entirely, citing an inability to reconcile death threats received, his publishing life and the safety of his family "Zionist Death Threats: Nimmo Closes Down Blog".
"The primary reason I have decided to stop posting the blog has to do with threats. I have received many of them, including death threats. Usually, I am able to brush aside threats, since most are not of a serious nature, but lately I have received several that are not to be taken lightly, especially considering the fact somebody has taken the liberty to post my address and telephone number (information easily attained from the domain registry) in various places on the internet. First and foremost, I have a responsibility to my family and posting political commentary obviously comes in a distant second."
On February 2, Rense.com writer Jim Mortellaro received calls from the same Toronto, Canada phone number:
"Beginning three days ago, two more so-called 'men' began their tirade on this writer. Like the first person, they informed me that I was a Rense supporter and that makes me an anti-Semite. Me. Of all people, with a Jewish side to our family in which 2.15% survived the camps. That would be two out of 93 human beings. You picked the wrong person, guys. ...I now have his name and address. The man lives in Toronto. He is the son of a (I won't go there, not to worry), he is a member of a very wealthy family there, with interest in (major interest) in a very large corporation." Zionist Threats and Harrassment Continue".
Mortellaro received the call on his cell phone, which, as he writes: "is extremely hard to obtain. You must have the *authority* to do so and that authority must be high up the food chain. So, whomever called, did so from a "restricted telephone number" and had *access* to cellphone numbers and their owners. A 'restricted' telephone number, being different from a 'restricted call,' makes the case for a governmental, institutional or large and powerful company as having made the call."
Messrs. Hall, Rense, Nimmo and Mortellaro are now coordinating efforts--with state police, FBI and Canadian authorities--for to bring about a Federal investigation. Each writer has been critical in their writings of US/Israeli entanglements; each has received death threats from the same phone source--which has now been identified. All manner of "special interest groups" have been protected from harrassment and seen perpetrators punished. That this group is comprised of prominent writers who hold what are undoubtedly unpopular beliefs, in the eyes of mainstream media and probably within Washington D.C., will prove a test case for the law being "fair and balanced."
Now, let me give you some backstory here. Somewhere around the time that Kurt Nimmo received his "threats," which were never quite fully explained to me, but since I have a lot of respect for Kurt, I didn't pry; I figured that if he felt threatened, that was good enough for me, we had a little exchange about it. I wrote to Kurt as follows:
I have tremendous sympathy for your wife. God only knows I went through hell having our names and addresses published on hate sites. [Websites were set up to defame us, a gang of cyberthugs cruised the net looking for every open BB they could find where they could post their slanderous filth.] We received death threats in the mail, my daughter was run off the road three times, the third time she hit a power pole and her car was destroyed. If it had not been a Volvo, she would be dead. [Another of our children was poisoned and nearly died. She spent three days on life-support and nobody expected her to recover.] When the dog was poisoned while we ran out to Sam's Club, in broad daylight, that was the living end. That's when we made the decision to leave the country permanently. [...]
Of course, no sooner did we get back online [right after publication of "MOSSAD and Moving Companies: Masterminds of Global Terrorism] than Jeff Rense published that awful defamation on the very day he had invited me to speak on his show. I don't think it was accidental. It took three days for us to get him to remove it.
I should mention that the MOSSAD piece went around the world, and was translated into no less than 6 languages within ONE WEEK of its publication. And it was IMMEDIATELY afterward, that a close associate of Rense - Jay Weidner - purchased "cassiopaea.net" for the purpose of publishing slanderous articles about us.
The above article about threats from Toronto was linked from Michael Rivero's "WhatReallyHappened.com" where he wrote the following remarks:
Larry has been an annoyance to this web site as well. When Larry first started attacking my site, hacking the servers, email bombing me, sending death threats, and other assorted dirty trucks, I reported him to both the FBI and to Interpol. Interpol is still investigating him as of my last contact with them, but interestingly enough the local FBI claims that the US Attorney for Hawaii ordered them not to investigate the case. I am putting that on the public record in case Mssrs Hall, Nimmo, Mortellaro, & Rense run into "bureaucratic resistance" in seeking to prosecute this minor irritation. The FBI has known about Larry for years now, because I tracked him down and reported him to the FBI in 2003, and the FBI failed to act to protect US citizens from what the USAPATRIOT act clearly identifies as terroristic activity.
The ball is in your court FBI. What are you going to do now? Look like total failures yet again?
So Jeff, Sartre, Kurt, ya'll are gonna have to come up with something better than a threatening phone call or two. That ain't COINTELPRO. Heck, that doesn't even qualify as a real "attack." I've been getting death threats by phone since I started publishing my material on alien abductions! When I was able to keep a lecture engagement only by having a bodyguard licensed to carry a gun, I knew it was time to quit speaking in public. What's more, guys, you need to have some evidence. You want to see MINE? Have a look at the stack of stuff I've assembled, all of which has been shipped off to the FBI. You know what the FDLE agent told me? He said that since 9/11, they are way too busy to deal with such "petty squabbles" - get a lawyer or quit doing what I'm doing and the attacks will cease. And I pointed out to him that ole Vinnie Bridges, pal of Jay Weidner, pal of Jeff Rense, pal of Michael Rivero, was just dancing with glee at the collapse of the WTC. Not only that, but he was known to hang out with Arabs in Arab costume! His buddy, Melchizidek, had connections to Mujaheedin. Melchizidek's main sugar-daddy has all the earmarks of a CIA frontman. Was the FBI interested? Nope. So, if they are interested in your guy for making a few phone calls, I can assure you that it's a set-up. Take that to the bank.
Now that the reader has a little bit more of an idea of what we are facing here, perhaps you will also be able to figure out that what we are offering here on SOTT isn't just the usual "bill of fare" of alternative News sites. It is obviously quite threatening to the Powers That Be. Since google regularly "penalizes" us while giving incomprehensible advantages to the "flame sites" set up to smear us, since most of the COINTELPRO alternative sites also "conveniently" fail to link to us, despite (or perhaps because of) the superior quantity and quality of our material, it's pretty clear that we are one HUGE THREAT to the PTB. That's again why we need to do more ADVERTISING.
We need funding to do more than advertising. We need to be able to hire full-time researchers and other support staff so that we don't have to work 16 hour days, 7 days a week, driving our health into the ground. We need to be able to identify those alternative news writers who are sincere and honest and offer them a decent compensation for REAL investigative journalism. In short, we need to completely replace the MEDIA, the true dragon of the Portal to knowledge that can help us change our world, in the minds and hearts of all those who thirst for truth and justice.
It isn't going to be easy. It hasn't been easy. It's been an uphill struggle all the way, and we could not have done it without the support of our readers. We need it now more than ever, and we need MORE of it than ever. Look again at what we have to confront: a group that wastes time and money, yet can raise $389,900 in a single DAY. That's a whole lot more than we have received in the past 5 years.
So please, dig as deep as you can. There is much, much more to what we hope to do than just advertising. We cannot, of course, reveal everything because if we do, COINTELPRO will jump on our plans like a duck on a June bug. Read our websites, examine our archives, decide today if you want to keep this information flowing, and if you want to make sure that it is available to more and more people, and if so, help us to make a Quantum Leap in our operation. You won't regret it, and your help may very well be the critical mass that changes the future for All.
Click here to donate now!
Comment on this Editorial
Editorial: Blair's Anti-Terrorism Law - Throttling The Truth
Signs of the Times
The race between Tony Blair and George Bush (and their NeoCon backers) to become the first modern Western "Democracy" to transform itself into a de facto dictatorship is heating up. Last night, Tony Blair put in a sterling performance to this end by "promising" (read threatening) that British Police will act on the new "glorifying terrorism" law which, having been rejected by his own Labour MPs and the House of Lords in January, has now been all but passed into law.
Blair claims that the new law will alllow a clear signal to be sent that those that incite or glorify acts of terrorism will be prosecuted. Officially, the law is to allow police to arrest people who indirectly incite terrorism, specifically those who "encourage suicide bombings and beheadings." Of course, no assurances can or will be given that British citizens will still be free to carry a placard denouncing the British government as engaging in terrorism itself, which, of course, both the Bush and Blair governments have been doing for the past 4 years (at least). It is in fact extremely likely that in the very near future anyone engaging in such an act of dissent will be accused of "idirectly supporting of inciting terrorism", the 'logic' being that to label the British (or American) government a terrorist regime is to give support to the terrorists who, coincidentally, say the same thing.
You can see where this is going, or rather, where it has already arrived.
In a stunning departure from traditional Conservative values, former Tory party leader William Hague denounced Blair's legislation, saying that the terrorism laws had been used to arrest 82-year-old Walter Wolfgang, who did nothing more than heckle Foreign Minister Jack Straw at last year's Labour conference, yet it took years for the militant cleric Abu Hamza to be prosecuted. Again, this is simply more evidence of the real point of 'anti-terror' legislation.
Indeed, it is not only ordinary British citizens that are in the crosshairs, non-conforming members of Blair's party are also wont to be labeled 'terrorists' if they refuse to drink the cool-aid. In a wonderful example of an early implementation of the real goal of British anti-terrorism laws, one Labour rebel, Bob Marshall-Andrews, said that Blair's had put MPs in "a terrible position" by suggesting that if they opposed the Government they were "in some way or another endorsing terrorism".
Going further still, even other heads of states may fall foul of Blair's fascist laws; Irish Taioseach (PM) Bertie Ahern was planning to lead the 90th anniversary celebrations of the 1916 Easter Rising by Irish revolutionaries in April this year, but perhaps the threat of being rendered off to Syria in a CIA or MI5 jet as a 'terrorist sympathiser' will now make him think twice.
Of real signifcance in the debate is the fact that British police (on the orders of the British Government) failed to arrest Muslim demonstrators who, at the height of last week's furore over Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed, marched through London carrying placards praising the July 7 bombings and calling for beheadings, even though British police already had the power to arrest these people. Indeed, existing British laws on incitement to racial and other forms of hatred provide all the scope needed to prevent extremists from encouraging others to support violent attacks. So why do we need further laws?
While Blair failed to explain exavtly why the demonstrators were not arrested, the reason is more than obvious: Blair, like Bush, has a vested interest in allowing renta-crowd 'Muslim fanatics' to prove to the public that Britain needs these Draconian laws. Given that most Islamic terrorism of recent years is a product of UK, American and Israeli intelligence agencies, we then come to the conclusion that legislation like the Patriot Act and the 'glorification of terrorism' law is not designed to combat the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, but rather to quash the real threat to American and British (and therefore Israeli) world hegemony - ordinary Western citizens like you and me standing up and calling Bush, Blair and Benjamin Netanyahu for the terrorists that they are.
Make no mistake, from the point of view of the NeoCons (and their Israeli masters) that have orchestrated this entire phony war on terror, the real enemy is the average Western citizen who still retains the ability to recognise shit from shinola.
Comment on this Editorial
Editorial: Daniel Pipes and the Danish Cartoon "Conspiracy"
Wednesday February 15th 2006, 5:42 pm
“There’s a conspiracy theory developing about myself and Flemming Rose, the Jyllands-Posten cultural editor who published the famous twelve cartoons of the Muslim prophet,” Straussian neocon and Islamophobe ne plus ultra Daniel Pipes informs us on his blog. According to Pipes, who is about as tolerant of Muslims as Ahmadinejad is of Jews, Rose decided to publish the offensive cartoons after visiting Pipes. “Flemming Rose and I have not written, spoken, or seen each other since that one meeting. I had nothing to do with the decision to commission or publish the cartoons eleven months later and only learned of their existence from press coverage of them.”
In fact, the original article mentioning Pipes in relation to Rose, written by Christopher Bollyn of the American Free Press, does not say that Pipes was involved in the decision to publish the now infamous cartoons; the article simply mentions that Rose traveled to America to interview Pipes. In typical disingenuous neocon fashion, Pipes alleges a “conspiracy theory” but refuses to cite or quote Bollyn’s article.
Indeed, the xenophobe Pipes may have not played a direct role in the Danish cartoon fiasco, however we can assume he is tickled pink about the outcome, as are his Straussian neocon associates Michael Ledeen, Frank Gaffney, Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, Michael Rubin, David Wurmser, and all the other “clash of civilizations” warmongering fanatics who should be arrested and locked up immediately before they conspire to invade more small defenseless countries and kill another 250,000 innocent people.
Comment on this Editorial
The propaganda we pass off as news around the world - A British government-funded fake TV news service allows mild criticism of the US - all the better to support it
By David Miller
15 Feb 06
A succession of scandals in the US has revealed widespread government funding of PR agencies to produce "fake news". Actors take the place of journalists and the "news" is broadcast as if it were genuine. The same practice has been adopted in Iraq, where newspapers have been paid to insert copy. These stories have raised the usual eyebrows in the UK about the pitiful quality of US democracy. Things are better here, we imply. We have a prime minister who claimed in 2004 that "the values that drive our actions abroad are the same values of progress and justice that drive us at home". Yet in 2002 the government launched a littleknown television propaganda service that seems to mimic the US government's deceptive approach to fake news.
The British Satellite News website says it is "a free television news and features service". It looks like an ordinary news website, though its lack of copyright protection might raise some questions in alert journalists. Broadcasters can put BSN material "directly into daily news programmes". In fact, BSN is provided by World Television, a company that also makes corporate videos and fake news clips for corporations such as GlaxoSmithKline, BP and Nestlé. It also produced Towards Freedom Television on behalf of the UK government. This was a propaganda programme broadcast in Iraq by US army psychological-operations teams from a specially adapted aircraft in 2003/04.
World Television produces the fake news, but its efforts are entirely funded by the Foreign Office, which spent £340m on propaganda activities in the UK alone in 2001. A comprehensive post- 9/11 overhaul means that this figure has probably markedly increased since then.
According to World Television, by November 2003 BSN "news" was being "used regularly by 14 of the 17 Middle East countries". "Over 400 stations around the world receive BSN stories," it claims. "185 are regular users of the stories, including broadcasters in Russia, Germany, Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Australia."
The diet of "news" received by viewers of the service includes an endless pageant of government ministers and other official spokespeople. Recent headlines on Iraq refer to happy news such as "Prime minister in surprise visit to Iraq" (December 22 2005) or "Iraqi ambassador upbeat on elections" (December 14 2005). Often Chatham House provides the venue for policy discussions, as in: "The psychology of terror - experts meet" (December 23 2005).
Questioning the occupation is out of the question, but some criticism of US policy is possible. In an extraordinary apologia for the British occupation of Iraq in 1920, the "suggested intro" reads: "This year is not the first time an outside power has sought to construct a modern, democratic, liberal state in Iraq. Britain tried to do the same in the 1920s". The benevolence of the US and the UK is simply assumed: "Today's USled coalition, like the imperial occupiers of 80 years ago, are trying to free Iraq's government and security services from corruption and abuse."
But the clumsy strategy of the US is potentially "alienating a large section of the population". So the question arises of what "useful lessons could be drawn" from the British experience. In reality the 1920 occupation led immediately to a popular revolt that was ruthlessly suppressed. A puppet monarchy was imposed, which was neither "modern" nor "democratic" but was, as argued by the historian Mark Curtis, one of the least popular in Middle Eastern history.
The BSN strategy seems to be to emphasise Britain's cultural diversity. Bulletins regularly highlight ethnicminority contributions to the UK and interview leading moderate Muslims. But it is possible to hear muted criticism of Israel. One item featured "A leading Israeli academic who has questioned both the wisdom and the effectiveness of the controversial 'separation fence'."
A clue to the thinking behind this lies in a 2003 report for the Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) thinktank, coauthored by its then director Mark Leonard. He advised the Foreign Office on its Public Diplomacy Review in 2002 and was later appointed to the resulting Public Diplomacy Strategy Board, which directs Foreign Office propaganda strategy. Leonard wrote in 2002: "If a message will engender distrust simply because it is coming from a foreign government then the government should hide that fact as much as possible." The FPC report suggests the British government should not be afraid of "bloodying the Americans' noses" in its propaganda messages on Israel/Palestine. They must "ensure that the differences between UK and American positions and thinking are emphasised". The point is to tackle the perception that Britain "apishly follows every American lead" so the "usefulness" of "UK support for the US" is increased.
This strategy of criticising the US, in order to support it better, conforms to Blair's wider Iraq strategy. It is clear from documents leaked over the past year (such as the Downing Street memo) that the plan was to use the UN as a device for gaining legitimacy for the invasion of Iraq. All this makes a mockery of Blair's claims to progressive values. Indeed it suggests that such claims are themselves cynical propaganda.
David Miller is professor of sociology at Strathclyde University
Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006
Comment: Duuh! We've been saying all along that this is what is happening. Not only that, the pretended adversarial attitude between google and the US gov is also phoney.
Comment on this Article
Quick Rise for Purveyors of Propaganda in Iraq
By DAVID S. CLOUD
15 Feb 06
WASHINGTON — Two years ago, Christian Bailey and Paige Craig were living in a half-renovated Washington group house, with a string of failed startup companies behind them.
Mr. Bailey, a boyish-looking Briton, and Mr. Craig, a chain-smoking former Marine sergeant, then began winning multimillion-dollar contracts with the United States military to produce propaganda in Iraq.
Now their company, Lincoln Group, works out of elegant offices along Pennsylvania Avenue and sponsors polo matches in Virginia horse country. Mr. Bailey recently bought a million-dollar Georgetown row house. Mr. Craig drives a Jaguar and shows up for interviews accompanied by his "director of security," a beefy bodyguard.
The company's rise, though, has been built in part by exaggerated claims about its abilities and connections, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former Lincoln Group employees and associates, and a review of company documents.
In collecting government money, Lincoln has followed a blueprint taught to Mr. Bailey by Daniel S. Peña Sr., a retired American businessman who described Mr. Bailey as a protégé.
Federal contracts in Washington can supply easy seed capital for a struggling entrepreneur, Mr. Peña says he advised a youthful Mr. Bailey in the mid-1990's when the two men started a short-lived technology company. "I told him, 'When in trouble, go to D.C.,' and the kid listened," Mr. Peña said.
Mr. Bailey defends his company's record, saying, "Lincoln Group successfully executes challenging assignments." He added that "teams are created from the best available resources."
Lincoln won its contracts after claiming to have partnerships with major media and advertising companies, former government officials with extensive Middle East experience, and ex-military officers with background in intelligence and psychological warfare, the documents show. But some of those companies and individuals say their associations were fleeting.
Lincoln has also run into problems delivering on work for the military after its partnerships with more experienced firms fell apart, company documents and interviews indicate. The firm has continued to bid for new business from the Pentagon and has hired two Washington lobbying firms to promote itself on Capitol Hill and with the Bush administration.
"They appear very professional on the surface, then you dig a little deeper and you find that they are pretty amateurish," said Jason Santamaria, a former Marine officer whom the company once described as a "strategic adviser."
The company's work in Iraq, where Mr. Bailey and Mr. Craig visit from time to time to direct operations, is facing growing scrutiny.
The Pentagon's inspector general last month opened an audit of Lincoln Group's contracts there, according to two Defense Department officials. A separate inquiry ordered by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top American commander in Iraq, after disclosures late last year that Lincoln Group paid Iraqi publications to run one-sided stories by American soldiers, has been completed but not made public, military officials said.
A spokesman for General Casey, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, declined to comment on Lincoln Group, citing the ongoing investigation.
In interviews, Mr. Bailey, 30, and Mr. Craig, 31, said they had succeeded by anticipating the military's need for help communicating with and influencing the Iraqi public, just as the insurgency was building. "We saw that it was very hard for the U.S. to do that work," Mr. Bailey said. "They didn't do media and outreach very well. We had local offices in a tough environment where traditional U.S. contractors would not operate."
He disputed suggestions that Lincoln had experienced difficulty delivering on work for the military, saying the firm had "successfully executed" more than 20 contracts from the Defense Department.
Lincoln's roster of advisers and other businesses assisting it has continually changed, Mr. Craig said, because "our work in often hostile environments has occasionally proved to be too risky or challenging for some of our partners."
Little in Mr. Bailey's background indicated he would end up doing propaganda work in Iraq. Born in Britain as Christian Jozefowicz, he changed his name when he graduated from Oxford University and moved to San Francisco during the late-1990's dot-com boom.
There he founded or advised several companies and plunged into the Silicon Valley social scene, according to Mr. Bailey and several friends and former business associates. Among the companies were Express Action, a company that planned to develop an Internet service to calculate duties on overseas purchases, and Motion Power, which intended to invent a shoe that would generate its own electrical power to run portable consumer devices.
"You would have been proud had you seen this 23-year-old kid pitching, with no product, no customers, no business plan," Mr. Bailey wrote in a letter to Mr. Peña, describing how he raised $15 million from investors for Express Action.
Mr. Bailey later moved to New York and sought investors for an investment fund, according to documents filed with the National Futures Association. In 2003, he moved to Washington.
Mr. Craig's path to the capital began when he dropped out of West Point to pursue, he says, his interests in business and national security.
Enlisting in the Marines in 1995, he began working in military intelligence. He earned an undergraduate degree in information technology while stationed in Okinawa and Australia through the University of Maryland and a masters in business administration from National University, which runs academic programs on military bases. He left the Marines in 2000.
By 2004, Mr. Bailey had moved into Mr. Craig's house near downtown Washington, and the two had formed the company that eventually became Lincoln Group.
Their original goal was to make money exploiting Iraq's most obvious surplus — its shattered infrastructure. But those efforts faltered.
A project to export scrap metal fell apart after the Iraqi government banned scrap exports in 2004, Mr. Bailey said. A pile of scrap metal, purchased with a loan from an Indonesian bank, has been sitting in Basra ever since, according to two ex-employees. Like several other former Lincoln workers, they asked to remain anonymous because they had signed confidentiality agreements with the company or still dealt with the firm.
Lincoln also spent about $50,000 for two portable brick-making machines from Texas. The company had hoped to set up a brick plant near Mosul, where the demand for construction materials was vast, according to a presentation Mr. Bailey made to potential investors in Dubai. The machines, though, were principally designed for homeowners or small contractors. Lincoln would not comment on the project.
Eventually, Lincoln began working with the American military, which was spending millions on contractors for a broad range of services. The firm rented a one-story house inside the Green Zone, the heavily fortified government compound in central Baghdad. Furnished with two sofas and a sheet of plywood that served as a desk, the house had a single telephone and an overloaded electrical outlet.
Lincoln formed a partnership with The Rendon Group, a Washington company with close ties to the Bush administration, and won a $5 million Pentagon contract to help inform Iraqis about the American-led effort to defeat the insurgency and form a new government. One contract requirement was to get Iraqi publications to run articles written by the military, according to several ex-Lincoln employees.
Rendon soon dropped out and Lincoln handled the contract alone. But the company had fewer than two dozen workers and little experience with public relations, according to several ex-employees.
Problems arose from the start. In a 2004 briefing to the military, Lincoln conceded that it was "not yet fully staffed" and that "media monitoring software" required by the contract was "not ready."
And the government did not provide that much work at first. The military's public affairs office produced only a few articles a day during that period, one Lincoln ex-employee said. A small State Department contract to assist small businesses had just been cancelled, he said, and the firm was having difficulty making its payroll.
Lincoln lacked the armored vehicles or security guards employed by more established contractors. When venturing outside the Green Zone, employees would grab weapons and climb into one of two beat-up Proton sedans, which employees were told were chosen to blend in with dilapidated Iraqi vehicles on the streets.
After winning a small contract from the Marines to do polling, the company hired Iraqis to go door-to-door in Anbar Province with questionnaires. To protect themselves from possible insurgent reprisals, they were told to say they were working for an Iraqi university, according to a former Lincoln employee.
Last August, gunmen came to the home of one of the Iraqi workers, killing him and three others, according to an ex- employee. Mr. Bailey said it was not clear whether the killing was related to the polling, but the company decided to move a Lincoln office staffed by Iraqis in downtown Baghdad to a less noticeable location.
Back in the United States, Mr. Bailey and Mr. Craig worked to drum up more business.
In late 2004, Mr. Craig traveled to Fort Bragg, N.C., to meet with officers of the 18th Airborne Corps, which was preparing take over management of Lincoln's public affairs contract in Iraq, according to a former employee and company documents. Despite the problems with the existing work, Lincoln said it could assist the military in the more secretive realm of "information operations," according to a transcript of the briefing. Unlike public affairs work, information operations are meant to influence and help defeat foreign adversaries, using deception, if necessary.
The briefing also touted the firm's "strategic advisers," including Mr. Santamaria, the former Marine officer, who received a master's degree from the Wharton business school and was co-author of a business book called "The Marine Corps Way."
Mr. Santamaria said he reviewed several investment proposals for Lincoln during a two-week association in late 2004. But after becoming "concerned about their methods," he said, "I severed ties with them as quickly as I could."
A Lincoln spokesman, William Dixon, said "it was a mistake" to include Mr. Santamaria's name in the December briefing because he was no longer affiliated with the company.
Lincoln may simply have been following another principle taught by Mr. Peña. "How do you create an instant track record?" Mr. Peña says he told Mr. Bailey. "You joint-venture with someone who has a track record."
Early last summer, military commanders made Lincoln Group the main civilian contractor for carrying out an aggressive propaganda campaign in Anbar Province, known as the Western Mission project. Over the next several months, the military transferred tens of millions of dollars to Lincoln for the project, records show.
The company hired dozens of employees, including academics and former military personnel, as well as hundreds of contract workers in Iraq and elsewhere, a number that fluctuates by contract requirements, according to Mr. Dixon, the Lincoln spokesman.
With the new duties came substantial new requirements, including producing television and radio ads, buying newspaper ads and placing many more articles in the Iraqi press. The military also approved paying Iraqi editors to run stories, according to ex-Lincoln employees.
Lincoln also enlisted the New York advertising executive Jerry Della Femina, chairman of Della Femina Rothschild Jeary & Partners. Mr. Della Femina said he was introduced to Mr. Craig last spring by a Washington lobbyist.
Mr. Della Femina said his firm "did a great deal of work" on advertising ideas for Lincoln to present to the military's Special Operations Command, which last summer was soliciting bids for contracts, potentially worth millions, for psychological operations.
Lincoln listed Mr. Della Femina as a "creative director" in materials presented last spring at a meeting with Special Operations officers in Tampa. But Mr. Della Femina said his firm pulled out before executing any of the ideas. Three months after ending the collaboration, Mr. Della Femina said, he discovered that Lincoln's Web site listed him as one of its partners.
"I was surprised that they had our name on their Web site in the first place," he said.
After he asked that his name be removed, Mr. Craig said, "we honored his request within the week."
By that time, Lincoln had already been notified by Special Operations Command that it and two other companies had been chosen to compete for work under the contract.
Lincoln later told Special Operations Command that one of its principal subcontractors was Omnicom Group Inc. of New York, an advertising and marketing conglomerate. A proposal signed by Mr. Bailey in October said Lincoln "has exploited the extensive experience and expertise of the Omnicom Group."
But Pat Sloan, an Omnicom spokeswoman, said she could find no evidence it has ever worked with Lincoln Group. "We're not aware of any relationship with Lincoln Group," she said. She noted that Omnicom had once owned 49 percent of Mr. Della Femina's agency but had sold the stake in early 2005. Michael J. Jeary, president of Mr. Della Femina's agency, said Lincoln's claim of Omnicom as a subcontractor was an "honest mistake" because he had never told the firm Omnicom had sold its minority stake.
Although Lincoln Group's work in Iraq is now under scrutiny in two Pentagon investigations, the firm is hunting for more government work. Last month, Mr. Bailey attended a going-away reception at the Virginia condominium of a mid-level government employee on her way to a new job at the American Embassy in Baghdad. Her job: overseeing contracts.
Copyright 2006The New York Times Company
Comment on this Article
Flashback: So, just who is Christian Bailey?
By Andrew Buncombe
17 December 2005
A 30-year-old Oxford graduate with no public relations experience was the recipient of a $100m (£56m) contract from Donald Rumsfeld's Department of Defence for buying space in Iraqi newspapers to place deliberately one-sided stories written by US "psy-ops" troops, at a time when the chaos of Iraq makes genuine journalism all but impossible and when journalists risk their lives on a daily basis to report the truth.
The office building situated at 1420 K Street NW has nothing obvious to commend it other than its prime location. Just a couple of streets from the north-west gates of the White House, it sits in the heart of lobbying land - the K Street corridor that represents one of the most crucial centres of power, influence and money in the United States.
This grey building, neighboured to one side by an off-licence and to the other by a travel agent, is home to the Lincoln Group, a previously little-known "business intelligence" company headed by a heretofore little known young Briton, Christian Bailey, an Oxford graduate and consummate net worker. He is at the centre of a mounting storm of controversy surrounding the Bush administration's covert propaganda war in Iraq.
It was recently revealed that Bailey's company was the recipient of a $100m (£56m) contract from Donald Rumsfeld's Department of Defence for buying space in Iraqi newspapers to place deliberately one-sided stories written by US "psy-ops" troops, at a time when the chaos of Iraq makes genuine journalism all but impossible and when journalists risk their lives on a daily basis to report the truth.
As part of the project - in which the US military hid its involvement - Lincoln Group staff paid Iraqi journalists to write similarly misleading stories about US forces and the Iraqi government that ignored anything negative about the occupation. One headline read: "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism."
The revelations have created a furore. President Bush is said to be "very troubled" by the news, while on Capitol Hill members of both the Senate and House armed services committees demanded inquiries. The Pentagon said it would launch an immediate investigation.
Much is unclear about the Lincoln Group, its youthful executive vice-president and his string of previous companies that have left only the faintest paper trail. Indeed, Christian Bailey may not be his real name: a number of student associates said at some point during his four years that he changed his name from Yusefovich - an unlikely surname for someone called Christian.
The Independent has been unable to confirm this. Yet the details known about Bailey and the contract his company won provide a remarkable insight into the way influence and power operate in Washington. Just two years after arriving here, Bailey, 30, who has a penchant for socialising, has apparently developed contacts both within the Republican establishment and the world of private intelligence.
Senator John Warner, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said of the false news operation: "I remain gravely concerned about the situation." Since the controversy broke Bailey has kept a low-profile and has offered just the fewest public words about his organisation and what it does. (He failed to respond to requests for an interview.) It also appears a number of internet references linking him to the Republicans can no longer be found.
Yet it is clear the Lincoln Group and its contract with the Joint Psychological Operations Support Element, part of the Pentagon's Special Operations Command, is inextricably linked with Bailey. He apparently named the company and its various offshoots after Lincoln College, Oxford, from which he graduated in 1997 with an MA in economics and management.
Many observers have been surprised Bailey, from Surrey, has been awarded such a sizable contract, give that he appears to have no experience in public relations. Indeed, since he moved to the US in the late 1990s, he has spent much of his time in private finance, working in hedge funds in San Francisco and New York.
It appears he has been especially interested in new technology markets. A brief biography presented by the organisers of a conference held earlier this year in Dubai at which Bailey was listed as a speaker, said he had worked in Palo Alto, California, "where he advised portfolio companies and identified, evaluated and developed emerging technology investments".
The Briton has always enjoyed a reputation for business. Several Oxford associates said it was rumoured that the popular student kept two computers in his room to monitor the stock markets. Bailey has said he founded and sold two companies while an undergraduate. "He was quite enterprising, I believe," said Graham De'ath, of Winchester, who was in the same year.
Kate Smurthwaite, who is now a stand-up comic but shared a flat with Bailey in his third year, told The Independent that the young entrepreneur hired a personal assistant to work for him in his student digs as he ran an operation selling self-help advice on cassettes.
He also had a reputation as a hard-working networker. While in New York he became treasurer of the Oxonian Society, a club for graduates of Oxford and other universities, which invites high-profile figures to speak. He was involved in at least one charity fundraising effort with other hedge-funders. Perhaps of more significance, Bailey became the co-chairman of the New York chapter of Lead21, a networking group for young Republicans. At least a dozen of its members have gone on to work for either the Bush administration, Congress or the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
During a Lead21 trip to the Republican National Convention in New York last autumn, Bailey said of his colleagues to one reporter: "These are going to be the big supporters, the big donors, to the Republican Party in five years."
According to other members, Bailey was very popular. Auren Hoffman, chair of Lead21 and chairman of the Stonebrick Group, a San Francisco-based consulting firm, said Bailey was a good friend. "Christian is a terrific guy personally. Everyone I know that has ever met him instantly likes him. He is very likeable and charming. Very intelligent. Very interesting."
When he moved to Washington, his reputation as a networker continued. He often hosted parties at home and mixed with a set of young, up-and-coming journalists and congressional staffers. He enjoyed a reputation as a good cook, a welcoming host and for making cappuccinos with a machine in his kitchen. He also enjoyed flying: Federal Aviation Administration records show that he is qualified to fly aeroplanes and helicopters.
How and when did Bailey make the switch from hedge funds to private intelligence and PR? One clue is provided by the Alternative Investment News newsletter of 1 March 2003, just weeks before the invasion of Iraq. It reported Bailey's hedge fund, Lincoln Asset Management Group, had launched a buyout fund to start buying companies in the defence and security industries. Bailey said he had obtained commitments of $100m from six institutional investors, whom he declined to name.
Apparently with an eye to the preparations for war being made in the deserts of northern Kuwait, he added: "[The] timing is extremely good to look at defence companies." Shortly afterwards, a subsidiary called Lincoln Alliance Corp was established, offering what it called "tailored intelligence services [for] government clients faced with critical intelligence challenges".
By last autumn Bailey had formed another Lincoln subsidiary, called Iraqex, which seems to have formed a partnership with another American PR firm called Rendon, famous in Washington for having promoted Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress.
At some point Bailey also went into business with Paige Craig, 31, a former US Marine who served in Iraq and elsewhere. [Bailey and Craig are flatmates in a fashionable part of Washington, close to U Street. The flat is just yards away from Café Saint- Ex, popular with young professionals.]
In September, Iraqex won a $6m Pentagon contract to design and execute "an aggressive advertising and PR campaign that will accurately inform the Iraqi people of the Coalition's goals and gain their support". It appears one project was an attempt to persuade the Iraqi and US public that Iraqi troops played a vital role in last year's effort to clear Fallujah.
A strategy document obtained by ABC News revealed the Lincoln Group was seeking to promote the "strength, integrity and reliability of Iraqi forces during the fight for Falujah". In reality, most assessments suggest the small number of Iraqi troops present were minimally involved.
But the real breakthrough came this summer when Bailey's company, having again changed its name to the Lincoln Group, secured a $100m contract for information and psychological operations. Part of the contract was for placing "faux" news stories in some of the 200 Iraqi-owned newspapers that now exist.
Pentagon officials have said that, while not factually incorrect, these stories only presented one side of the story and would not include anything negative about the occupation. It was reported this week that the $10Om was part of a larger $300m "stealth PR effort" in a number of countries around the world.
One PR consultant with experience of the private-intelligence sector, said: "Doctrinally, this is all part of what the military calls information superiority. It is part of the plan for what they call, rather upsettingly, full-spectrum dominance. The truth is that it is just propaganda. And there has always been propaganda in a war. And this is a war, so ... thus runs the thinking."
According to reports from former Lincoln employees, their main task was to take news dispatches, called storyboards, which had been written by specially trained psy-ops troops, have them translated into Arabic and then distribute them to the newspapers. They would also deal directly with members of the Iraqi media through something called the Baghdad Press Club, a group of journalists who were paid to write and publish positive stories. Typically, Lincoln paid newspapers between $40 and $2,000 to run the articles as either news or adverts.
To help it carry out its work, Bailey and Craig - the latter is apparently responsible for most of the Iraq-based end of the business - have reached out to some of the foremost specialists in security and intelligence. Among "advisers" listed on their website is Andrew Garfield, a former British military-intelligence officer and specialist in psychological warfare who has advised the Ministry of Defence. In an e-mail to The Guardian Garfield confirmed his collaboration with Lincoln but gave no details.
Another adviser is Colin Rees Mason, who two years ago received an OBE for his service as a lieutenant-colonel in the Territorial Army, and who for almost 20 years has been a consultant to the Centre for Operational Research and Defence Analysis, a subsidiary of BAE Systems.
The Lincoln Group also has Republican links. Among lobbyists registered to represent it are Charles Black, an adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr and Marlin "Buzz" Hefti, who served as a director at the Pentagon.
Lincoln Group also lists as a partner the Virginia-based private intelligence group WCV3 Security. Last year that company's executive vice-president took unpaid leave to produce Stolen Honour: Wounds That Never Heal, a film that, at a critical time in the presidential election campaign, condemned the Democrat John Kerry and questioned his version of events in Vietnam.
Despite the concern on Capitol Hill about the placing of false stories in foreign media outlets - a practice that dates back to the Cold War - it is unknown what will be the outcome of the Pentagon's investigation. It is also unclear how the controversy has affected the ability of the Lincoln Group or Bailey to fulfil its contract. In a statement the company said: "Lincoln Group has consistently worked with the Iraqi media to promote truthful reporting across Iraq. We counter the lies, intimidation, and pure evil of terror with factual stories that highlight the heroism and sacrifice of the Iraqi people and their struggle for freedom and security."
Comment on this Article
Flashback: Godalming geek made millions running the Pentagon's propaganda war in Iraq
December 24, 2005
By Patrick Foster and Tim Reid in Washington
IT WAS astounding enough for Washington’s political elite: last month they discovered that the man at the heart of a scandal over the planting of US propaganda in Iraqi newspapers was a dapper but unknown 30-year-old Oxford graduate who had somehow managed to land a $100 million Pentagon contract.
What is even more remarkable however, after an investigation by The Times, is that just ten years ago Christian Bailey, whose US company is under investigation for planting fake news stories in Iraqi newspapers, was a nerdy, socially awkward English school-leaver called Jozefowicz.
The transformation of the geeky but ambitious Christian Jozefowicz, who just a few years ago was growing up in a modest terraced house in Godalming, Surrey, to the charming, baby-faced multimillionaire Christian Bailey now rubbing shoulders with some of the most powerful figures in Washington — and who next year will probably face questions on Capitol Hill about his company — is one of the more extraordinary stories to have emerged from the Iraq war.
This month it was revealed that Mr Bailey’s US company, the Lincoln Group, was the recipient of a Pentagon contract to help to fight the information war in Iraq. It then emerged that the company was paying Iraqi journalists to plant optimistic news “stories” in Iraqi papers that had been written by the US military.
Interference with the press touches a raw nerve in America. The fake stories revelation provoked a furore among Republicans and Democrats. President Bush said he was “very troubled” by it. Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, has promised a Pentagon investigation. Congress plans hearings into the scandal.
The journey from the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, which Mr Bailey left in 1994, to the heart of K Street in Washington, the centre of money and influence in the US capital, has been remarkably rapid. Today he has a reputation in Washington for being a socialite with links to influential Republicans. He is a helicopter and aircraft pilot and his home is in a fashionable area.
Through a Lincoln Group spokesman, Mr Bailey answered questions from The Times to help to explain how, at just 30, he landed the Pentagon as an important client. He was born Christian Martin Jozefowicz on November 28, 1975, in Kingston upon Thames, to Jerzy and Anne Jozefowicz.
His father, a Polish architect, died in April 1998. His mother, who has since reverted to her maiden name of Seifert, was born in West Germany. The family lived in East Molesey, southwest London, before moving to Godalming, Surrey.
Mr Bailey’s Royal Grammar School contemporaries recall a business-obsessed, “geeky” individual with few friends. “He was a nerd at school,” one told The Times. Another described him as a “school joke” who told everyone he was going to be a millionaire. He was the first at school to have a mobile phone and was interested in early versions of the personal computer.
He founded a Young Enterprise company, Chameleon, which led to his selection as one of the top six Young Enterprise participants in Britain.
His school yearbook records Christian Jozefowicz as “Mr Business himself” and that he was elected vice-president of the International Student Forum, a business gathering in the US. In 1994 he won a place at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he read economics and management. He kept computers in his room, thought for monitoring the stock markets.
In his third year at Oxford he hired an assistant to help him to run his first proper company, Linck Ltd, which sold self-help tapes. In 1998, he changed his name to Bailey. “Following his father’s death, Bailey assumed the name for family reasons, something which children commonly do,” a Lincoln Group spokesman said. In the late 1990s he moved to San Francisco to try his hand as a dotcom entrepreneur, and then to New York, where he became treasurer of the Oxonion Society, a club for intellectual Anglophiles. He became co-chairman of a networking group for young Republicans. With his Republican contacts growing, Mr Bailey moved to Washington, where he spotted a golden business opportunity: the looming war in Iraq. He formed a partnership with Paige Craig, a former US Marine who served in Iraq.
In early 2003, just before the invasion, Mr Bailey formed a Lincoln subsidiary, the Lincoln Alliance Corp, offering “tailored intelligence services [for] government clients faced with intelligence challenges”. He also formed another subsidiary, Iraqex, which won a $6 million Pentagon contract to launch “an aggressive advertising and PR campaign that will accurately inform the Iraqi people of the c oalition’s goals and gain their support”.
The big breakthrough came in June this year when the Pentagon awarded the Lincoln Group a contract worth up to $100 million over five years to support the US military’s “joint psychological operations”, known as “psyops”.
Lincoln group defended the planting of stories and the company has emphasised that none of them were factually incorrect. “By not speaking through the local media, the coalition would allow a vacuum for rumours and untruths perpetrated by the insurgents’ thuggery and threats,” a spokesman said.
LIFE AND WORK
November 28, 1975: Born Christian Jozefowicz, Kingston upon Thames
1987-94: Attends the fee-paying Royal Grammar School, Guildford
1993-94: Listed on electoral roll as Christian Jozefowicz-Seifert
1994-97: Obtains a 2:1 in economics and management from Lincoln College, Oxford. While at university, runs Linck Ltd.
October 1998: Founds Linck Corporate Finance under the name of Christian Bailey. Fails to declare previous surname or other directorship
1999: Moves to America
2003: Co-founds Lincoln Group, now subject to investigation into planting of US military propaganda in Iraqi newspapers
Comment on this Article
Flashback: Jack Idema Case: Shredding Propaganda: Mariah Blake/Tin Soldier
I have read this over numerous times and I just have to laugh at what passes for "journalism" these days. I thought I'd start picking apart the inflammatory lies of "Tin Soldier" by Mariah Blake from Columbia Journalism Review–you know, just for kicks. Again, her piece is going to be in bold type because I’ll be quoting from other articles and sources to punctuate certain points.
Let's begin by acknowledging up front that Zalmay Khalilzad was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University from 1979-1986, which might explain quite a bit about this piece to begin with.
Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad was confirmed on June 16, 2005 and sworn in on June 22, 2005 as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq.
Ok, now for some fun.
Dr. Khalilzad was U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005 and also served as Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan.
Before becoming Ambassador to Afghanistan, he served at the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Islamic Outreach and Southwest Asia Initiatives, and prior to that as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Southwest Asia, Near East, and North African Affairs. He also has been a Special Presidential Envoy and Ambassador at Large for the Free Iraqis.
Dr. Khalilzad headed the Bush-Cheney transition team for the Department of Defense and has been a Counselor to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.
Between 1993 and 1999, Dr. Khalilzad was Director of the Strategy, Doctrine and Force Structure program for RAND's Project Air Force. While with RAND, he founded the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
Between 1991 and 1992, Dr. Khalilzad served as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning. Then-Secretary of Defense Cheney awarded Dr. Khalilzad the Department of Defense medal for outstanding public service.
Dr. Khalilzad also served as a senior political scientist at RAND and an associate professor at the University of California at San Diego in 1989 and 1991.
From 1985 to 1989 at the Department of State, Dr. Khalilzad served as Special Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs working policy issues, advising on the Iran-Iraq war and the Soviet war in Afghanistan. From 1979 to 1986, Dr. Khalilzad was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University.
Dr. Khalilzad received his bachelor's and master's degree from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. He went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Dr. Khalilzad is the author of more than 200 books, articles, studies, and reports. His work has been translated in many languages including Arabic, Chinese, German, Japanese, and Turkish.
In April, 2004, a former US Special Forces Soldier named Jonathan Keith Idema started shopping a sizzling story to the media.
Is that so? So in those few sentences you have set the stage and have pinned him as some sort of of a con man "shopping a sizzling story"…
He claimed terrorists in Afghanistan planned to use bomb-laden taxicabs to kill key US and Afghan officials, and that he himself intended to thwart the attack.
So he if I'm to swallow what you're saying here, I'm to follow the assumption that Jack had a crystal ball and planned all this out head of time? Where is your proof that he was saying this before the fact or are we to accept what you're saying merely at face value?
That's the problem with so much of this, the statements are made but no verfiable facts are offered so we're just supposed to blindly believe and go along with it.
Shortly thereafter, he's headed to Afghanistan, where he spent the next two months conducting a series of raids with his team, which he called Task Force Saber 7. By late June, he claimed to have captured the plotters, and started trying to clinch a deal with television networks by offering them "direct access" to one of the terrorists who, he said, had agreed to tell all.
hmmm. My recollection of these early events are that Idema was in Afghanistan in 2001, before these events and it was reported by your buddies in the AP. You know, Nahrin Earthquake (where he was depicted as a hero), Anaconda (where he was depicted as a hero), etc.
But all that aside, here's the true story in a nutshell: Gulumsaki was nabbed getting off a bus, and was caught red-handed with a letter from his brother at Gitmo in his pocket. The real news is what all of that intelligence led to.
And contrary to news reports and blogging frauds, CBS had a representative present who was recording everything in addition to Caraballo. You see, CBS originally had an interest in this story. They were interested in reporting on how Idema's methods were different than those demonstrated by the idiots at Abu Grhaib. In essence, their intention was to report that Abu Ghraib was the exception and not the rule.
In exchange for footage and access, Idema wanted a minimum of $250,000 and prominent play. He asked that ABC send Peter Jennings or Cristopher Cuomo to cover the story. Ultimately ABC turned the story down, as did CNN, a CBS spokesperson, Kelli Edwards, says the network "never seriously considered" it, although Idema was regularly e-mailing Dan Rather's office and in June, the network sent two employees to Idema's Kabul headquarters to pick up the sample tape.
That's interesting, because Idema didn't talk to anyone but CBS about this. It was Caraballo who had a relationship with ABC and nobody talked with CNN. And to be sure, there is so much more to CBS's involvement in this story!
CBS wanted to confirm reports that Idema and his team had captured the brother-in-law of bin Laden's chief of security and the terrorists responsible for the murder of Canadian ISAF Corporal Jamie Brendan Murphy. Corporal Murphy had been murdered in a bombing on Darlaman Road in Kabul on January 27, 2004. Once CBS confirmed this, they saw it as an important story against the war on terror.
Idema told CBS that approval for the story would have to be obtained by the Department of Defense before he could discuss his relationship with Bagram or Task Force 180. Idema told CBS that any story should focus on the United Front Military Forces' continued efforts to combat Al Qaeda and why Massoud's UFMF needed continued American supported in their counter terrorist operations.
CBS's bureau chief, with the approval of Andrew Hayward and others, were inside Sabre 7's compound during the period when several terrorists were in custody an awaiting transfer to Bagram. CBS's Michael Brandenberg was at the compound on numerous occasions, and even spoke directly with Osama Bin Laden's chief of security's brother in law.
CBS said they wanted to show how co-opting a terrorist accomplished more than humiliation by untrained interrogators. Idema allowed CBS to transmit interrogation video back to the US from the CBS Kabul office.
Idema, who was paying an Emmy Award-winning cameraman to document his activities, even distributed a sample tape of himself arresting people and interrogating hooded suspects. In one scene he is shown blocking a road and emptying passing vehicles. "Put your fucking hands up or I'll blow your fucking brains out," he screams at a group of men who have shuffled bewilderedly off a bus and are standing with their flimsy tunics whipping in the wind.
Jack did not pay Caraballo to be a cameraman in Afghanistan. My sources tell me that Jack did not even want to bring Caraballo, or any journalist, and the Army asked him to bring three different journalists, all of which Jack turned down.
Wow, Mariah, pretty dramatic screenplay you're writing there. I wonder why you completely turned around on this. You didn't mention how impressed you were with Idema and how you were talking about how great Idema was after viewing those tapes.
Jack dictated a legal contract and within a day or so, there was a response from Columbia Journalism review that it didn't meet with their "objective" hoity-toity "truth telling" standards. HA! And that they would not comply. AND, they contacted Polaris images to get the same photographs licensed for use that Stacy Sullivan had used (if I'm not mistaken) ILLEGALLY in HER hit piece. So someone is trying to cover for Stacy Sullivan's putting her neck out there on this one.
The clip where their robes were 'whipping in the wind" (if I'm not mistaken) was the one where Ghulamsaki was caught red-handed with the Red Cross letter from his brother at Gitmo in his pocket as he got off a bus. The only reason that Idema and his men got the guy was because they had excellent intelligence on where he would be and when. Some guys claim they just drive around and see what happens. Idema isn't one of those.
These captured terrorists were working with and/or for; Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, Gulbideen Hekmatyar, Hezb-i-Islami, and the Taliban. Specifically, these terrorists had participated in, supported, and/or personally conducted terrorist bomb attacks against foreign and domestic persons in Afghanistan. A prime target of these terrorists was U.S. military forces at Bagram Airbase north of Kabul in Afghanistan. In fact, the American FBI later confirmed Task Force Saber/7's intelligence reports that several of the terrorists were going to drive fuel trucks into Bagram and explode them into U.S. military barracks in a terrorist bomb attack similar to the bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983 in which 244 U.S. Marines were killed. Using a rare incendiary explosive to detonate fuel tanks on the gas trucks entering Bagram daily, and taxis, the terrorists expected to kill more than 500 American soldiers, two ministers, and two ambassadors in at least five separate coordinated attacks. These same terrorists had already made at least one attempt on the Defence Minister, and two failed attempts on the 3rd Corps commander, General Attiquallah Lodeen, a close friend and trusted ally of the United States and a candidate for Parliament.
Several of the captured terrorists were directly involved in the killing of Canadian Lance Corporal Jamie Murphy on January 27, 2004 in Kabul, the killing and wounding of election and aid workers in Nangahar and other provinces in Afghanistan, the attack of NATO ISAF forces in Kabul, and were currently planning and coordinating the assassinations of several of Karzai's key political opponents in the Jamiat Party, including his Minister of Defense, Minister of Education, several Corps Commanders (former Northern Alliance Generals), and at least two Afghan Ambassadors (in Delhi and London) who supported the U.S. War on Terror. The Minister of Education, Yunis Qanooni, was the lead opponent to Karzai in Afghanistan's new election under the Bonn Agreement, and was a prime target of the terrorists, along with Marshall Fahim, the Minister of Defence, and General Rashid Dostum.
All of the terrorists had been arrested by Task Force Saber/7 with either actual explosives, detonators, bomb parts, and/or bomb plans in their possession, as well as documents and correspondence proving their links and association with the Taliban, Hezb-i-Islami, and al-Qaida, including handwritten maps and diagrams of a past bomb attack on General Lodeen, a Shabnama "night letter" calling for a jihad against Americans authored by none other than Mullah Omar himself, and in the case of a terrorist named Ghulamsaki a coded Red Cross letter from his brother (Mohammed Asef), an al-Qaida detainee in Cuba. Additionally, one of the terrorist's taxis tested positive for explosives by German ISAF bomb teams. The physical evidence against the terrorists was irrefutable, conclusive, and backed-up by incriminating videotaped statements, undercover surveillance, informants, and extraordinary physical evidence.
It appears that Idema still hadn't sold the taxicab story by July 5, when his situation took a turn for the worse. The Afghan police raided his headquarters and discovered eight prisoners, some of them tethered to chairs in a back room, which was littered with bloody cloth. The men told reporters that they had been starved, beaten, doused with scalding water, and forced to languish for days in their own feces.
Give me a break. The red cross reports showed absolutely no evidence of torture except for one guy–some abrasions on his ankle because the flexicuffs were on too tight, and he was struggling to get out of them. No pictures emerged of the "bloody cloth", either. And do you think if there were pictures of actual torture that the media wouldn't have had a field day broadcasting them?
As far as I recall, the actual complaint was that he wasn't allowed to take a PISS for 12 hours, and that violated Islamic law. That's a little bit different than languishing "for days in their own feces". All of the other things were later done to Jack and his men at Saderat after they were taken into custody on July 6.
Of course, there was one picture that was put up at ABC Australia that showed Jack stitching up the terrorist Sherajan. Someone wrote that what he was doing in that picture was some weird kind of Nazi torture technique of removing brain tissue or some garbage. Actually, people at Bagram said he had fixed up that wound rather well and it was healing nicely. So those reports of Jack "torturing innocent Afghans" is so far off the mark it's breathtaking. Sharajan was also captured in May, long before the events that led up to their arrest on July 6.
CBS' Michael Brandenburg was at the compound on numerous occasions, and witnessed the interrogation of Al Qaeda terrorists at the compound. Idema allowed CBS' representative to watch the interrogation of Corporal Murphy's killers, and view each of the terrorists in custody. Brandenburg was also allowed to speak directly with the brother-in-law of Bin Laden's Chief of Security, who was cooperating fully and willingly. CBS employees saw the methods of interrogation, the physical condition of the terrorist, and the conditions of the terrorists' detention, and knew that no torture was occuring.
They didn't, of course, admit this after Idema's arrest because that would have indicated they were present and knew how Idema was conducting the questioning of the terrorists. So instead of telling the truth, they withheld information and proof that these men were innocent of the charges, and instead, put out the same lies the others were reporting.
Afghan authorities determined that none of the detainees had links to terrorism and set them free. Idema, on the other hand, was arrested, along with two other Americans (the cameraman and a former soldier) and four Afghans, and charged with running an unauthorized prison and torturing inmates. After a cursory trial, he was sentence to serve ten years. (This case is on appeal.)
Yes, the taliban kangaroo court allowed the terrorists to go free, and in August, there was a bombing at Bagram. Yeah. No links to terrorism. Ghulumsaki was one of the perpetrators in that bombing.
The taliban judge (in the first trial), the former soviet communist interpreter and all the rest–didn't follow any of the rules of law…and later, the two main guys who were touting the story of abuse (Jalili and Mashal) resigned their posts (to save face) and ran off because they were exposed as the Taliban. Judge Sidiq was exposed as the taliban, linked to Hekmatyar (a buddy of Bin Laden's).
There was a vast difference in the terrorist interrogations done by Idema and the experienced intelligence agents working with him as compared to the young interrogators at Abu Ghraib and other locations. CBS' Bureau Chief said Heyward wanted to compare Idema's effective interrogation techniques with the poor techniques used at Abu Ghraib. CBS said they wanted to show how co-opting a terrorist accomplished more than humiliation by untrained interrogators. Idema allowed CBS to transmit interrogation video back to the US from the CBS Kabul office.
Just a few hours after Michael Brandenburg left for the last time, Idema was arrested by anti-UFMF forces, at the request of Interior Minister Ahmad Ali Jalali (exposed later as Taliban or officially "former" Taliban) of "running a torture chamber", "torturing innocent Afghans", and other illegal conduct. Three other false claims by Jalali were that Idema had "innocent Afghans hung from the ceiling in his basement", that the terrorists were being "abused, tortured and starved" and that Idema and his men were "rounding up innocent Muslims with long beards" (only 3 of 11 had long beards).
CBS and other news networks piled on and reported Jalali's false claims and similar false allegations by Jalali's spokesman Lutfullah Mashal. Ahmad Ali Jalali was a former Voice of America radio news translator in Washington, DC. Jalali, a vehemently anti-UFMF (Northern Alliance) Pashtun from the south, is alleged to have had a prior relationship with CBS News and Fox News. CBS News had also worked with Lutfullah Mashal in the past. Mashal was a former translator for journalists during the 2001/2002 war and had close connections with the Taliban. Idema had warned both CBS and FOX about Mashal's Taliban connections in 2001 and 2002, yet they still employed Mashal and worked with him during that time.
Interestingly enough, since these events have taken place, Mashal and Jalali "resigned".
Don't these so-called journalists realize how transparent their attempts are at this fakery and fraudulent news reporting?
Note how several of these pieces have come out where they use the same terms, and the same so-called "sources" and "experts" who have turned out to be complete lying frauds. It's like a handful of journalists are using a handful of lying sources, and writing the same lies to cover for each other while destroying the reputation of someone who's a legend in SF Ops and deserves much better than this. After what he did–I think he deserves at least a medal! And instead, he got imprisonment and torture with FBI agents laughing in the hallway. Something is terribly wrong with this picture.
For all its outlandish twists, the saga of the taxicab plot was not extraordinary for Idema, who over the years had fed the press a variety of sensational material that seemed to shed light on the shadowy world of secret soldiers, spies and assassins. This time the story never ran, but Idema had been a key source for numerous questionable stories that did. A self-proclaimed terror-fighter who has served time for fraud, Idema took a willing media by storm, glorifying his own exploits, padding his bank account, and providing dubious information to the American public.
Oh that one is rich. Painting Idema with the same brush as assassins and spies really indicates to me that you don't understand the job of a Green Beret, or the work of special forces. Or who we're fighting, or war in general. It didn't seem to me that the AP had any problem with his record before this, when he single-handedly rescued 300 women and children after the earthquake in Nahrin. Take a look at the archived articles here. What this seems to boil down to, Ms. Blake, is media whores talk the line that sells papers. Even if it's a lie.
What happened to journalists doing RESEARCH for a piece –and providing factual information? Idema may have made some money over the years, but he has also spent much of his own money–to the point where he's virtually homeless–to fight terrorism and help the people in Afghanistan. But of course telling the truth about the man isn't as juicy as telling lies that portray him as a 'rogue bounty hunter'. I'm not sure about that, really…I'd rather see the real story told…and unfortunately I'm only seeing it because of my own research. What a sad commentary about the media!
In January 2002, Idema sold CBS sensational footage, which he called the "VideoX" tapes, that purported to show an Al Qaeda training camp in action. The tapes became the centerpiece of the bombshell 60 Minutes II piece, "Heart of Darkness", reported by Dan Rather and touted as "the most intimate look yet at how the world's deadliest terrorist organizaton trains its recruits." Idema also sold video stills to a number of press outlets, including the Boston Globe. MSNBC, ABC, NBC, the BBC, and others later replayed the tapes. Questions are now emerging about their authenticity, some of which were detailed in a piece by Stacy Sullivan in New York magazine in October.
Boy you apologists are really quick to stroke each other off, aren't you? Gotta love that one. There are no "questions about their authenticity" except those in the media, like you, who are trying to perpetrate this fraud on the public. And it would also seem that Stacy Sullivan, up until this point, was hanging out there all alone with that ridiculous piece "Operation Desert Fraud" –so someone at the Columbia Journalism Review had to come in and "rescue" her by printing the identical false accusations, using the same questionable lying fraudulent sources!
Here's Peter Bergen's response to those lies.
Last October, New York magazine raised the possibility that the Al Qaeda videotapes Idema supplied to 60 Minutes II were faked, a seemingly plausible scenario given Idema's previous fraud conviction. But when I visited the town of Mir Bacha Kot, about a half-hour north of Kabul, Deputy Police Chief Mohammed Araf told me that Arabs had indeed used the town as a military base under the Taliban, and the buildings in Mir Bacha Kot match those on the Idema-supplied tapes. A journalist from a leading U.S. media organization who evaluated the tapes told me he had no doubt they were authentic but passed on them only because Idema was demanding tens of thousands of dollars for them.
Now consider that what Bergen is saying about Idema asking tens of thousands of dollars for those tapes is true (I don't believe it for a second.). What do you suppose is the dollar value of the lengths to which he had to go to get that footage? Or the personal sacrifice that he and his family have made in order for him to do this difficult work? Is money any compensation? Probably not.
Do you realize that Idema doesn't have very much at all at present, and do you know the reasons why?
Idema hasn't asked for a dime from any journalist for those tapes. But even if he had–he's virtually homeless because he's been using his own money to fight this war on terror, and to help the Afghan people. To me, the claim that he's in this for a buck is disingenuous at best. As a matter of fact, it also seems to me as though it's the people on the other side who are trying to make a buck off him while he's in prison and can't defend himself.
Idema also served as an expert military commentator on Fox News and was a lead character in Robin Moore's best-selling book "The Hunt for Bin Laden", which was supposed to chronicle the exploits of U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan. And he fielded hundreds of interviews with major newspapers, television networks, and radio stations, which seem to take his swaggering claims–that he was an active-duty Green Beret in Afghanistan, an undercover spy, an explosives expert, and a key player in the hunt for Osama bin Laden–at face value.
He IS all of those things. And for your all of your elitist bluster, you've missed one key point about being a Green Beret. Being a Green Beret is something you earn through your training and courses you've taken. It's an honorary award that President Kennedy began to bestow on SF operatives. IT NEVER GOES AWAY.
Their official motto is De opresso liber ("To liberate the oppressed").
The Green Beret was originally unauthorized for wear by the U.S. Army. It was legitimized by President John F. Kennedy who encouraged the wearing of the beret by the Special Forces. Preparing for an October 12, 1961 visit to the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the President sent word to the center's commander, Brigadier General William P. Yarborough, for all Special Forces soldiers to wear the beret as part of the event. The President felt that since they had a special mission, Special Forces should have something to set them apart from the rest. In 1962, he called the Green Beret "a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom."
The Green Beret is an AWARD. All other headgear and uniforms are issued when you are assigned to a unit. Dr.'s are not called former doctors, Rangers are not called former Rangers, nor are SEALs called former SEALs, because these are awards which have specific requirements, such as graduating specific schools. I've never seen any article declaring that Idema is active military–to the contrary; he's a Green Beret, and a specialist in several areas as was described in this post.
C'mon, Miss Blake, do your homework. Well actually if you'd done your homework, this piece would have turned out very differently, that is obvious.
Idema used the platform the media provided to spread dubious information, much of it with curcial implications for national security and foreign policy. For example, he claimed to have uncovered a plot to assassinate Bill Clinton; that Bin Laden was dead, and that the Taliban was poisoning the food that the United States was air dropping to feed hungry Afghans. (In fact, people were getting sick from eating the dessicant packed with the food.)
Oh that's interesting, Miss Blake. The Guardian reported on this in 1998 and is it a coincidence that Jack Idema isn't mentioned in the article??? I don't ever quote the Guardian because it's a socialist rag, but listen to this:
Counter-terrorism and intelligence sources say Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York, was due to carry out the killing in Manila.
Would those counter terrorism sources be Jack Idema? They don't name their source of that information in the article by name.
He allegedly told FBI agents escorting him to New York for his bombing trial that he planned to kill Mr Clinton by blowing up his motorcade with a missile or explosives, but gave up because the security was so tight.
Yousef, it is reported, did not say Mr Bin Laden was behind the plot. But one of his co-defendants, Walk Khan Amin Shah, once a senior aide to Mr Bin Laden, allegedly said the order had come from the Saudi millionaire, who now lives in Afghanistan.
BTW, the only place I can find the information about Jack claiming the Taliban was poisoning the people is on the websites which are stupid enough to have spread around your bullshit article.
Ted Kavanau tells me that the dessicant story is actually quite different than you describe. Actually, if you'd bothered to check, it was document in several places. In Jon Lee Anderson's "The Lion's Grave":
His first mission was to provide ground assistance to the air drops of U.S. humanitarian aid rations. He had also conducted an investigation into the rumors circulating among Afghans that the rations were poisoned.
And in Hunt for Bin Laden.
"I found out who did it," Jack said, "and it was not Al Qaeda or the Taliban. And there wasn't any poison. The people were eating the desiccant" –the preservative drying agent—"that comes in little packets in each ration pack. It says "Do Not Eat" in English, French, Spanish and Chinese. But not in Farsi or Pashto. They thought it was spices! So there were some severe injuries and several presumed deaths. One guy who died ate the Handi Wipes, the desiccant—everything. These people, I mean they don't even have napkins, how do they know what a Handi Wipe is? I gather he thought it smelled good, so he ate it." Other people had become ill, Jack found, because many of the ration packs had exploded on impact, and the food inside had been exposed and become contaminated. Jack said that he wrote a report that was sent to DOD, and about a week later the problems were sorted out.
Even though they had six DZs (drop zones) mapped and ready to receive food drops, the Air Force continued to drop the food packs blind, suing what was referred to as "flutter method," an untested procedure where the HDRs were simply dumped out of the back of cargo planes. Idema was not happy with the way food drops were being conducted and started firing off messages to his friends at Fort Benning, Fort Bragg, and the Pentagon. While he waited for a response he started collecting airdropped food packs. Recovering some from the mountains and the desert floor, he paid the Afghans $5 each out of his own pocket so they could purchase rice instead. The Afghans had claims the HDRs were making them ill. Once Idema had a selection of HDR samples from across northeastern Afghanistan, the investigation quickly took an unexpected turn.
Yeah, here's a "rogue" warrior criminal guy who a) doesn't care about the Afghan people and b) has no contacts in Washington. Give me a break.
The packs had desiccant in them, a drying agent and moisture retardant that was packaged in small paper pouches and looked just like Afghan medicine or the spice packets in Russian noodles. Afghans started eating the desiccant. Sick Afghans started eating even more, thinking the U.S. was kindly dropping medicine. Idema's civilian team fired off a report that Afghans were getting sick from desiccant. One village even claimed a man had died. (HDRs were printed in English, French, German and Spanish, nonexistent languages in remote Afghan villages. Eventually the Air Force started dropping cartoon leaflets that explained how to eat the food.)
Colin Powell received a copy of the team's email and wanted answers. Natick Labs in Massachusetts initiatially denied the report and told the Pentagon and Powell that there was no desiccant in the HDRs. Washington believed them. The message returned to Idema's team from "higher up" said the team was wrong, their intel was bad, and they were basically out in left field and unreliable.
Pissed off, Idema went back to the drawing board. Twenty-four hours later he was emailing digital pictures of desiccant packs via INMARSAT. In the process he discovered something far worse.
The HDRs had been packed in Texas, Indiana, and South Carolina at low altitudes. They had been dropped at altitudes far exceeding ten thousand feet. The sealed packs expanded in the air, and then hit the ground at terminal velocity, exploding the sealed food inside and causing slight tears in the other protective plastic wrapper. Exposed to the rugge Aghan terrain and harsh elements, the food inside rapidly spoiled and became contaminated. Digital pictures were transmitted through INMARSAT to Fort Benning's Battle Lab.
Idema got word that Donald Rumsfeld had demanded answers from Natick. The following day the team was excstatic, a Natick official admitted the presence of desiccant and the more important contamination problem, stating that government contrators had violated DoD (Department of Defense) product specifications.
Idema never told anyone that the Taliban was poisoning the food that the Americans were dropping into Afghanistan as humanitarian aid to starving people. You could easily speculate that the American government itself started to talk that way–in the beginning when they were denying that desiccants were in the food.
Here's an SF Operator comment [thanks, Dan]:
I would like to add that ANYONE that doubts your facts can contact ANY member of TIGER 03 (JSOTF Codename for ODA 595- 5th Special Forces Group (ABN), Fort Campbell, KY).
Kavanau called the Pentagon and they denied these packets were packed in that food. PLUS, there were several reporters who claimed they broke the dessicant story FIRST and were pissed that Idema picked it up as though it were his. That's the only problem here–Idema never said the Taliban was poisoning the food. That's utter BS, but it goes along with the rest of the BS flavor of this piece.
If you check the early October 2001 Reports from the DOD, I think you will find that it was the DOD PAO and an ASD who stated at a PRESS CONFERENCE that THEY believed the Taliban was poisoning the airdrops in Northern Afghanistan (I was already in the ISOFAC preparing to deploy when we were briefed on it).
During the press conference the DOD was defending dropping food and not bombs on Northern Afghanistan, which was of course the RIGHT thing to do because these people were, and are still, our allies, even if the American State Department has now deserted them and has us working with the new ANA (a joke of a Keystone Cop army).
Jack Idema went into Northern Afghanistan with a primary mission to find out who WAS poisoning the food drops and to get more food drops to the Northern Alliance and get the right kind of food landing on actual drop zones instead of USAF "blind drops." This was secretly coordinated by the DAT at both the American and Afghan Embassies in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Jack Idema found out the real cause of the poisoning and HDR problems. Idema FIXED the problem single handily, through initiative, ingenuity, and pure guts.
Make no mistake about it, four of the men on my team currently here in Afghanistan know for absolute fact that Jack Idema's version of the HDR story is true.
I can pick holes in every single paragraph of this thing… I'm going to stop at the piece de resistance…just a few more to go…This next one is priceless…
Idema's career as a media personality reached its peak during the final breathless weeks of the run-up to the war in Iraq. Much of the information he provided during that period echoed the Bush administration's hotly contested rationale for the war. He told MSNBC that the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda was "common knowledge" on the ground in Afghanistan, and claimed in an interview with WNYC radio's Leonard Lopate that "Iraq has been involved in supporting Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with money, with equipment, with technology, with weapons of mass destruction." He told other wide-eyed journalists that there was ample evidence linking "Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia to Al Qaeda and to the attacks on September 11," and professed to have firsthand knowledge of nuclear weapons being smuggled from Russia to all three members of the "axis of evil"–Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Few in the media questioned Idema's claims, much to the alarm of some who knew him.
This is too much, . The "rationale for the war" is not, nor has it ever been "hotly contested". An neither is the Saddam/Iraq/Al Qaeda/Bin Laden Connection. Only where the myth plays dramatically–in the no-account clueless world of the media.