Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Lincoln Group in Iraq

"They appear very professional on the surface, then you dig a little deeper and you find that they are pretty amateurish," said Jason Santamaria, a former Marine officer whom the company once described as a "strategic adviser."
The company's work in Iraq, where Mr. Bailey and Mr. Craig visit from time to time to direct operations, is facing growing scrutiny.
The Pentagon's inspector general last month opened an audit of Lincoln Group's contracts there, according to two Defense Department officials. A separate inquiry ordered by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top American commander in Iraq, after disclosures late last year that Lincoln Group paid Iraqi publications to run one-sided stories by American soldiers, has been completed but not made public, military officials said.
A spokesman for General Casey, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, declined to comment on Lincoln Group, citing the ongoing investigation.
In interviews, Mr. Bailey, 30, and Mr. Craig, 31, said they had succeeded by anticipating the military's need for help communicating with and influencing the Iraqi public, just as the insurgency was building. "We saw that it was very hard for the U.S. to do that work," Mr. Bailey said. "They didn't do media and outreach very well. We had local offices in a tough environment where traditional U.S. contractors would not operate."

via CitizenBrand:
I think this presents an interesting juxtaposition of communications around the world. The world's leading democracy paying millions of dollars to an unqualified group interested only in the money to propagandize in the Muslim world versus influentials in the world's largest and one of the most closed societies decrying government censorship. I doubt that either represents the majority thinking in the US or in China yet but I do think both are indicators of the direction each of us could be heading. In the case of the United States, that is why we need to make sure the light shines bright on the Lincoln Group. And we can hope that those voices against censorship in China gain strength.

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