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Rigging the News in Iraq (continued) | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Rigging the News in Iraq (continued)

You remember the Lincoln Group? The guys the Pentagon paid tens of millions of dollars to pay-off Iraqi media and plant stories favorable to the U.S.?

The same guys The New York Times revealed to have lied about "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" in order to receive those hefty contracts?

In short, just the kind of guys Bush, Cheney & Co. enjoys working with.

So it's hardly surprising – though completely outrageous – to read Walter Pincus' story in yesterday's Washington Post that the Lincoln Group has been handed a new "two-year, $12.4 million contract to handle strategic communications management…." Lincoln competed against seven other groups and was the lowest bidder "to help military commanders in Baghdad get what they consider the positive side of their operations in the news…."

At least one competitor might challenge the contract decision based on Lincoln's record. But when one considers Halliburton, Kellogg Brown and Root, Blackwater, Custer Battles, Bechtel and others… one can't be too terribly optimistic about the outcome of any appeal.

Pincus also notes that one day after the State Department poll revealed that the Iraqi people want U.S. forces to withdraw immediately and would feel safer if they did, the military now aims "to hire a private firm to conduct polling and focus groups in Iraq ‘to assess the effectiveness of operations as they relate to gaining and maintaining popular support.'"

Once again, the modus operandi of this administration is perfectly clear: if you don't like the news delivered (in this case, by the State Department), contract out to a hired gun (or Rummy). And if you don't like the news reported by Iraqis, hire the Lincoln Group.

And if you don't like the twisted thinking of this sick bunch, vote Democrat in November. It's the only way we will achieve any oversight of this continuing debacle in Iraq.

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