Democracy

The New Whopper: Burger with a Side of Spies

Author Eric Schlosser editorializes about "the growing threat to civil liberties posed by corporate spying," citing Burger King Corporation's spying on the Student/Farmworker Alliance and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers through Cara Schaffer and her private security firm,

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Pentagon's Propaganda Documents Go Online, but Will the TV Networks Ever Report this Scandal?

Eight thousand pages of documents related to the Pentagon's illegal propaganda campaign, known as the Pentagon military analyst program, are now online for the world to see, although in a format that makes it impossible to easily search them and therefore difficult to read and dissect. This trove includes the documents pried out of the Pentagon by David Barstow and used as the basis for his stunning investigation that appeared in the New York Times on April 20, 2008.

What the Pentagon Pundits Were Selling on the Side: Propaganda Meets Corporate Lobbying

The Pentagon launched its covert media analyst program in 2002, to sell the Iraq war. Later, it was used to sell an image of progress in Afghanistan, whitewash the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and defend the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping, as David Barstow reported in his New York Times expose.

Millions to supply body armor and counterintelligence services in IraqBut the pundits weren't just selling government talking points. As Robert Bevelacqua, William Cowan and Carlton Sherwood enjoyed high-level Pentagon access through the analyst program, their WVC3 Group sought "contracts worth tens of millions to supply body armor and counterintelligence services in Iraq," reported Barstow. Cowan admitted to "push[ing] hard" on a WVC3 contract, during a Pentagon-funded trip to Iraq.

Then there's Pentagon pundit Robert H. Scales Jr. The military firm he co-founded in 2003, Colgen, has an interesting range of clients, from the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Special Operations Command, to Pfizer and Syracuse University, to Fox News and National Public Radio.

Of the 27 Pentagon pundits named publicly to date, six are registered as federal lobbyists. That's in addition to the less formal -- and less transparent -- boardroom to war-room influence peddling described above. (There are "more than 75 retired officers" who took part in the Pentagon program overall, according to Barstow.)

The Pentagon pundits' lobbying disclosure forms help chart what can only be called a military-industrial-media complex. They also make clear that war is very good for at least some kinds of business.

More Pentagon Propaganda, Online

As part of its plan to expand online "information operations," the Pentagon is launching "a global network of foreign-language news websites ... and hiring local journalists to write current events stories and other content that promote U.S. interests," reports Peter Eisler. The Pentagon launched Matawani.com last year, an Arabic-language site with Iraq news; other sites are being developed for Asian and Latin American audiences.

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The Great Stonewall of China

Great Wall</a> - easier than FOI?The Chinese government has unveiled a new regulation that China View, an English language website of the government-owned Xinhua News Agency, reports "includes a 'freedom of information' provision that gives the public, whether individuals or organizations, the right to request governme

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Scandal, What Scandal?

Almost two weeks after the New York Times reported on the Penatgon's military analyst program to sell controversial policies such as the invasion of Iraq, the broadcast television news outlets implicated in the program are hoping to tough out the scandal by refusing to report it.

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Managing Outrage (and Stalling Reforms)

Oil derrickAs gas and food prices rise, so does scrutiny of industry profits. But "food and energy companies have learned a lot since the 1970s about how to deal with public indignation," writes George Anders. In 1980, "Congress hit the energy industry with a windfall profits tax" that lasted until 1988.

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