Posted by John Stauber on June 07, 2006

Who and what is behind the organization Vets for Freedom, a lobby group for staying the Administration's course in the war in Iraq? Contributors to our investigative website SourceWatch are wondering exactly that. The current article can be reached by clicking here on the name Vets for Freedom. The group has a feel-good name -- how many vets are against freedom? -- but its supposedly non-partisan patriotic agenda is looking rather suspect. Will it become to the 2006 Congressional elections what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were in 2004? A Republican front for waging ad hominem attacks, this time on politicians like John Murtha who are calling for an end to the US occupation?

Here is what SourceWatch investigators have discovered so far:

Vets for Freedom was founded in January 2006 "by a group of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans who believe in the mission of freedom in the Global War on Terror, but who have become frustrated with the way the operation has been politicized and reported to the home front," according to its rather fancy website. The website says "In 2006, this group of veterans, enlisted personnel, and officers decided to take action. The result was the creation of Vets for Freedom, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the unbiased, nonpartisan truth of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to educate the public and mobilize public support for the Global War on Terror."

While the organization claims to be nonpartisan, the privacy notice on its website suggests otherwise, reading: " ... We may from time to time share the information our visitors provide with other Republican candidates and other like-minded organizations."

(Author's note: Whoever the PR professionals are behind Vets for Freedom, they work fast in monitoring and managing scrutiny. Less than an hour after this article hit the internet today they changed their website privacy notice and removed the "OTHER REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES" reference that had been in their privacy notice since May, mentioned in the paragraph above. They are quick! John Stauber)

The organization contests and condemns the views of Democratic Congressman John Murtha, the Democrat calling for the United States to pull troops from Iraq.

Virtually no information is available about the funders and organizations behind Vets for Freedom, so it is difficult to evaluate the degree to which the organization might be part of a war propaganda campaign interacting with the Bush Administration, the Pentagon, the American Legion and/or other ideologically-driven public relations and lobbying efforts that have exploited for political purposes the issues of US war veterans and their families, such as Move America Forward and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

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The SourceWatch article on Vets for Freedom goes on to examine the very Republican and partisan politics of its major spokespeople and founders. Is this an organization that is being cranked up for the 2006 elections, in the mode of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, to attack critics of the Administration's Iraq policy? Stay tuned to SourceWatch, but more than that, join the collaborative investigation. Anyone, including you, is invited to contribute fair, accurate and documented information to this article on Vets for Freedom, and every other SourceWatch article. Go beyond just reading about the news, help to find it and create it by collaborating with our citizen journalism community at SourceWatch.

Comments

Check out the latest on our SourceWatch article by clicking here on [[Vets for Freedom]]. Kudos to researcher and contributor Artificial Intelligence for documenting this information below, posted on [[Vets for Freedom]] with additional documentation:

An internet search for ''"Vets for Freedom" + fundraising'' arrives at a donation page bearing the same logos and information as other VFF web pages. However, the web address is that for DonationReport.com (plus an extension code for VFF).

The connection for the DonationReport.com [http://www.donationreport.com website] arrives at a Login page requiring both a User ID and Password—which belongs to eDonation.com, a member of [[The Donatelli Group]], a fundraising company that has raised campaign funds for the [[Republican National Committee]], [[Republican National Convention]], [[Bush-Cheney '04 Inc.]], [[John McCain]], the NRA, and an exhaustive list of members of the [[U.S. Senate]] and [[U.S. House of Representatives]] and other political organizations. [http://www.campaignsolutions.com/contents/clients/]

The Donatelli Group is associated with [[Creative Response Concepts]], the [[public relations]] firm that advised [[Swift Boat Veterans for Truth]], the "organization that accused [[John Kerry|Kerry]] of inflating his Vietnam War record" during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Also I did a little digging on the internet about these guys. If you look up the internet domain name they are hosted with Smartech Corporation. If you do a search on Smartech Corporation in google.com 3rd link down: 2006 : Republican Party. Click that link and you get: http://www.opensecrets.org/parties/expenddetail.asp?txtName=SMARTECH+CORPORATION&Cmte=RPC&cycle=2006
See for yourself. To me this just further proves www.vetsforfreedom.org is a prop for the Republican Party.

See my blog http://www.prwatch.org/node/4916

Citizen journalists on [[SourceWatch]] have been investigating and exposing the many Republican connections and the partisan pro-war political agenda behind [[Vets for Freedom]], a new organization with mysterious funding and a flashy website designed by Campaign Solutions, part of the [[Donatelli Group]]. [[Vets for Freedom]]'s hollow claim of "non-partisanship" took another blow Sunday, June 25, when the Buffalo News published a front page story by Jerry Zremski, their Washington correspondent, [http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20060625/1066005.asp linking Vets for Freedom to the Bush White House].

Bill Moyers presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.