who will be next World Bank President What will they do


More Iraq parallels: will Wolfowitz ever learn? Some further insights into attempts by team Wolfowitz to control public messages at the time of the Iraq war. And into the role of contractor SAIC, where Shaha Riza did her Iraq stint. One thing the Defense Department failed to consider properly when planning its "New Iraq strategic information campaign" was that bloggers, independent journalists and others would frustrate the attempts to monopolize information flows. This is all exposed in documents just obtained by the National Security Archive.

Using Freedom of Information Act requests the National Security Archive has obtained and posted new documents relating to US government Iraq war planning. They set out how certain contractors (including SAIC), got rich trying to spread messages in post-war Iraq. The NSA is scathing about SAIC: "March 11, 2003 - The Defense Department gives SAIC a $15 million sole-source contract for the 'Iraqi Free Media' project. Though the company has worked extensively with U.S. Special Forces, it has no media experience". (Sole-source contract means no competitive bidding).

As for the New Iraq media strategy. The NSA records "As Pentagon planners saw it, the themes of the 'strategic information campaign' were to be crimes of the old regime, and a bright new day". Now of course Wolfowitz - in a key Pentagon position during Iraq war planning, is trying to emphasise that there are no crimes carried out by the current regime, and no need for a new day.

Now, just as with the Iraq war, Wolfowitz, his (same) advisers and his (new) lawyers are struggling to contain information flow.

The parallels will be obvious to anyone reading the National Security Archive piece:
"Unfortunately for the architects of the war, however, the world has found uncontrolled media to view Iraq's actual post-invasion reality -- Abu Ghraib, IED's, chlorine bombs, sabotage, disappearances, torture, botched executions, a dysfunctional legal system, a collapsed civil infrastructure, massive casualties, and an exodus numbering 2 million refugees, for whom American humanitarian aid has been effectively nonexistent -- all overseen from the USG's privileged enclave in the Green Zone".

"The 21st century universe of alternative media, freelancers, cell phones, video uploads, bloggers, and satellite news outlets was not, evidently, anticipated by the Pentagon, and is well beyond its control".

Thanks to all our readers inside, around and far from the World Bank who have helped make this so.

Alex Wilks ~ May 10, 2007

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