The U.S. State Department is seeking dismissal of a human rights lawsuit against Exxon Mobil's activities in Indonesia, where villagers say that they were victims of murder, torture, kidnapping and rape by the military unit guarding the company's gas field. "In response to a request by the corporation for an opinion, the department declared that pursuit of the case would harm Washington's campaign against terrorism," reports the New York Times.
Guatemala remains of the most horrifying legacies of the work of Edward Bernays, the legendary "father of public relations." On behalf of the United Fruit company, Bernays orchestrated the propaganda behind a military coup that overthrew Guatemala's elected government, ushering in decades of tyranny under regimes whose brutality rivaled the Nazis as they condemned hundreds of thousands of people (mostly members of the country's impoverished Maya Indian
Richard Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review, has written a letter protesting the U.S. State Department's "slipshod, deceptive, and, now, even thuggish" treatment of one of its reporters.
The Spinsanity.org website has on occasion published insightful commentaries on misleading uses of political rhetoric in the United States. In July 2002, however, Spinsanity itself published a deceptive attack on the media watchdog organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). After FAIR criticized U.S.
"The Union of Myanmar, which is ruled by a ruthless military junta, has retained Washington, D.C.-based DCI Assocs. to improve its relationship with the U.S.," trade publication O'Dwyer's PR writes. "DCI is to brief members of the Bush Administration and Congress that the former Burma is now committed to democracy and human rights. It also wants to be considered a foot soldier in President Bush's so-called 'war on terror.' DCI received a $100,000 retainer from Myanmar in early April, which will cover work through July 15. It will then bill Myanmar $35K a month. ...
"I accuse the media in the United States of treason," says a State Department official in a Washington Post opinion piece. Dennis Pluchinsky, a senior intelligence analyst with the Diplomatic Security Service in the U.S. Department of State, goes on to propose that the American press be censored in its coverage of the war on terrorism. "If there were an 'Osama bin Laden' award given out by al Qaeda, I believe that it would be awarded to the U.S news media for their investigative reporting," he says. "This type of reporting -- carrying specifics about U.S.
A federal jury has awarded $4.4 million to Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, two Earth First! activists who accused the FBI and the Oakland, CA, police of framing them for a 1990 bomb blast that severely injured them. Who really blew up their car? What was Hill and Knowlton PR's role in smearing Earth First! as eco-terrorists?
The Village Voice has compiled a special section devoted to the Bush administration's attack on civil liberties, which may prove useful in the wake of recent revelations that the Bush administration had forewarnings of September 11. Meanwhile, Peter Erlinder of the National Lawyers Guild has called for a re-examination of "the lies that were told to Congress and the American people after Sept.
Advertising Age's Bob Garfield in his Ad Review column gives the ad campaign created by Qorvis Communications for the Embassy of Saudi Arabia zero stars. "The ads are signed 'The People of Saudi Arabia,' but that's a lie," Garfield writes. "And so is the premise. For decades, the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia and other so-called 'moderate' Arab states has been a deal with the devil. We sponsor their corrupt, repressive, authoritarian regimes with cash and weaponry. They sell us oil. Such unholy alliances, dictated by Cold War realpolitik, were bound to create backlash ....
The Independent of England has obtained a copy of a secret internal memorandum circulating in the UK's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which proposes an "urgent" change in the law by November to crack down on objections to the genetically modified crops.