The military-industrial complex, Bahrain edition

Lockheed Martin goes to bat for oppressive regime — by Justin Elliott in Salon:

A top executive at Lockheed Martin recently worked with lobbyists for Bahrain to place an Op-Ed defending the nation’s embattled regime in the Washington Times — but the newspaper did not reveal the role of the regime’s lobbyists to its readers. Hence they did not know that the pro-Bahrain opinion column they were reading was published at the behest of … Bahrain, an oil-rich kingdom of 1.2 million people that has been rocked by popular protests since early 2011.

. . .

On Nov. 30, the Washington Times published an Op-Ed under the headline “Bahrain, a vital U.S. ally: Backing protesters would betray a friend and harm American security.” It was written by Vice Adm. Charles Moore (retired). Moore was formerly commander of the Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet. From 1998 to 2002, Moore notes in his Op-Ed, he “had the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s leader, as well as many senior officials in his government.” Moore passed through the revolving door and is now regional president for Lockheed Martin for the Middle East and Africa.

Of course the Washington Times did not reveal Lockheed's interest in Bahrain, or that Bahrain lobby firm Sanitas coordinated the op-ed with Lockheed.


Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,

Tunisia's apologists

I've covered the lobbying efforts of Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Egypt in the past. But here's an interesting tidbit about the poor excuses for human beings that lie for Tunisia in Washington, DC:

Tunis Lines Up Top PR Team; Washington Media Group, Washington

Maghreb Confidential

June 10, 2010

 Does Tunisia suffer from a poor image abroad? The country's communications minister, Oussama Romdhani (who is also boss of the powerful Agence Tunisienne de Communication Exterieure) signed a contract with the American lobbying and PR firm Washington Media Group on May 1. Tunisia's account will be handled by lobbyist Gregory Vistica, a former journalist, and a public relations specialist, John Leary. In return for an annual fee of USD 420,000, WMG will work to burnish Tunisia's image in the United States but also in France and elsewhere in Europe. Apart from translating certain official web pages into English, the firm will work at "modifying" Wikipedia's reports concerning Tunisia, keep an eye on social networks like Facebook and "optimize" search engines in order to focus on favourable content on Tunisia. Identifying media outlets that could provide more positive coverage will equally form part of the package.

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