New Bill Would Make It Legal To Target Propaganda And “Psychological
Operations” Directly At U.S. Citizens
21 May 2012
Should it be legal for the U.S. government to spend billions of dollars on propaganda designed to change public opinion in the United States? Should it be legal for the U.S. government to use television, radio, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and Internet forums to conduct “psychological operations” targeted at the American public? An amendment that has been added to a new defense bill in Congress would make it legal to target propaganda and “psychological operations” directly at U.S. citizens. The latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act would overturn the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987. Those two laws essentially make it illegal for propaganda that is used to influence public opinion overseas to be targeted at U.S. citizens back here at home. If those two laws are struck down, there will be essentially very few limits to what the U.S. government can do to shape our opinions. The government would be able to bombard us with propaganda messages on television, on the radio, in our newspapers and on the Internet and there would not even be a requirement that those messages be true. In fact, just as happens so often overseas, it would likely be inevitable that the government would purposely disseminate misinformation to the American public for the sake of “national security”. That is why it is imperative that this bill not become law.
As an article posted on LegalInsurrection.com correctly noted, this bill has already been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives….
Their bill was included as amendment 114 to the Defense Authorization Act and passed out of the House on Friday, May 18. It would amend two existing acts: the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (1987).
Fortunately, it looks like this amendment might run into some trouble in the U.S. Senate. But during an election year, not many politicians want to appear “soft” when it comes to national security, so it is definitely not a sure thing that the Senate will reject this amendment.
This amendment has been kind of “flying under the radar”, so now would be a good time to contact your U.S. Senators and let them know exactly how you feel about this.
So precisely what would this new amendment do?
A recent article by Michael Hastings of Buzzfeed.com did a good job of explaining how it would change things….
The new law would give sweeping powers to the State Department and Pentagon to push television, radio, newspaper, and social media onto the U.S. public. “It removes the protection for Americans,” says a Pentagon official who is concerned about the law. “It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.”
Do you want the Obama administration to use mass media in the United States to push a particular political or social agenda?
Do you want the State Department and the Pentagon to conduct psychological operations targeted at you, your family and your friends?
Do you want to see and hear government propaganda everywhere you go?
In a previous article I detailed 25 ways that America is becoming more like Nazi Germany, and I suppose I now have another item to add to the list.
Sadly, the government is already “pushing the envelope” when it comes to using the media. In his recent article, Michael Hastings detailed some examples of how the Pentagon is already attempting to shape public opinion in the United States….
In December, the Pentagon used software to monitor the Twitter debate over Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing; another program being developed by the Pentagon would design software to create “sock puppets” on social media outlets; and, last year, General William Caldwell, deployed an information operations team under his command that had been trained in psychological operations to influence visiting American politicians to Kabul.
According to U.S. Representative Mac Thornberry, one of the sponsors of the bill, current law “ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way.”
Apparently we cannot think for ourselves and we need the government to help us to see things more clearly.
But when it comes to “psychological operations”, the people that run them do not always play nice.
Just check out what happened recently to two USA Today reporters….
A USA TODAY reporter and editor investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites.
Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names.
If this new bill becomes law, there will be very few limits on what the government can do.
And just like the two USA Today reporters, you could end up being a target.
If the government propaganda experts decide that they don’t like you, it is quite likely that you could end up being the target of a massive misinformation campaign.
It could come down to the fact that they simply do not like your blog or what you are saying on Facebook. They could decide that it is best to destroy your reputation for the sake of “national security”.
These kinds of “Big Brother tactics” are absolutely disgusting, but they are becoming part of who we are as a nation.
According to one recent DHS report, if you revere “individual liberty” or if you “believe in conspiracy theories” you are a potential terrorist. And if you are a potential terrorist, then it would only make sense to conduct psychological operations against you before you become an “active” threat.
Sadly, many Americans already act as if they have been brainwashed by propaganda. Recently, a shocking video from North Carolina of a teacher yelling at a high school student and telling him that disrespect of Barack Obama is not permitted in the classroom went viral all over the Internet.
The teacher honestly seemed to believe that it was forbidden to “disrespect” Barack Obama.
That is frightening.
Our founders insisted on a limited federal government for a reason.
They greatly feared what might happen if the federal government became too large and too powerful.
At this point, not only is our freedom of speech under attack, but our freedom of thought is under assault as well.
If we are not very careful, America is going to be turned into a giant prison.
Those of us that still love freedom and liberty must be willing to speak out now before it is too late.
Once our freedoms and liberties are gone they will be incredibly hard to get back.
Obama’s Curious Support for Palestinian Statehood
Posted by Joseph Puder
May 9th, 2012
President Barack Obama has committed himself to the establishment of a Palestinian State on the pre-1967 lines, regardless of the consequences that might arise from such an unstable and failed state. It is becoming more apparent every day that Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah leadership lack legitimacy among the majority of Palestinians. Moreover, his Palestinian Authority (PA), which enjoys the largess of the American taxpayer, due primarily to Obama, is repressive and lacks the institutions that would insure a functioning state. The PA is either incapable of, or unwilling to forge, a genuine peace with Israel, and it is therefore incumbent upon Israel to take the initiative in terms of border setting.
President Obama authorized $192 Million to go the Palestinian Authority last month. He lifted the ban on financial aid to the Palestinian Authority imposed by the U.S. Congress, claiming that it was “important to the security interests of the United States.” Almost simultaneously, the Obama administration imposed “U.S. sanctions on those who help Syria and Iran track dissidents through cell phones and computers, serving notice on technology providers that they could be held responsible for those governments’ human rights abuses.”
Americans should welcome the sanctions against Iran and Syria as ordered by President Obama but one wonders why Obama deliberately ignored the repression employed by Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, against journalists and human right activists in the Palestinian controlled territories. Ma’an, the Palestinian news agency reported on April 23, 2012 that:
“The Palestinian Authority has quietly instructed Internet providers to block access to news websites whose reporting is critical of President Mahmoud Abbas, according to senior government officials and data analyzed by network security experts.”
Mahmoud Abbas is imposing a police state on the Palestinian people stemming clearly from the illegitimacy of his rule. The last Palestinian presidential elections were held in 2005, the 2009 presidential elections were canceled, and since that time Abbas has claimed that he “will not run again.” In the meantime, however, he is ordering his PA Preventive Security Service to harass, detain, and rough up all opposition. The latest victim is Khaled Amayreh, 55, a reporter for the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper who criticized the PA leadership (meaning Abbas), and called the Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh, the “legitimate Prime Minister,” according to the Jerusalem Post. The Post also reported that the Palestinian Journalist Forum “condemned the summoning of Amayreh,” and complained of a PA “crackdown on freedom of expression in the West Bank.”
Obama’s release of U.S. funds to the PA was not accompanied by conditions such as demanding that the PA guarantee free speech in the West Bank. The only speech the PA allows is hatred against Israel and Jews, using Israel as a scapegoat for the PA failure to establish livable conditions in the territories they control. Abbas’ actions notwithstanding, Obama is still determined to bring about a Palestinian State based on the 1967 lines.
The Palestinian failed state appears endemic as Shlomo Avineri, Political Science professor at the Hebrew University and former Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry observed in 2007. “Every week, it seems, brings another backward step for Palestine. President Mahmoud Abbas’s failure to convene the Palestinian Legislative Assembly, due to a Hamas boycott, may lead inexorably to the final breakdown of the political structures created under the Oslo Accords. Sadly, this is only the latest chapter in the Palestinians’ tragic history of failed attempts to create a nation-state.”
Avineri goes on to say that “Arafat and his Fatah-based supporters established almost a dozen competing security services – sometimes indistinguishable from clan-based militias – which consumed more than 60% of the Palestinian Authority’s budget, at the expense of education, housing, welfare, and refugee rehabilitation. Into this vacuum burst Hamas, with its network of schools, welfare services, community centers, and support organizations. The Hamas takeover of Gaza was but the latest step in this development.” The Abbas presidency did little to change things.
Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, wrote (Wall Street Journal-October 20, 2010) that Obama’s 2009 speech at the U.N. “supported aPalestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967.” Should the U.N. Security Council resolve to fix the 1967 lines as the border between Israel and Palestine, “it would call into question even Israel’s legitimacy, dramatically undercutting prospects for security and defensibility. By defining “Palestine” to include territory Israel considers its own, such a resolution would delegitimize both Israel’s authority and settlements beyond the 1967 lines, and its goal of an undivided Jerusalem as its capital.”
For Israel, the return to the 1967 borders would be catastrophic; it would have to uproot hundreds of thousands of Jews from areas in Judea and Samaria, as well as from Jerusalem. Its security would be threatened by hostile Palestinians (a Hamas takeover of the West Bank is almost inevitable given the PA corruption and abuses) commanding the Samaritan high ridges and the Jordan Valley. Israeli cities and the civilian population would become targets for Iranian supplied Hamas rockets. Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, only 9 miles from the Samaritan hills would be paralyzed by the threat of rocket fire on airliners taking off or landing.
Arafat broke the Oslo Accords when he launched the Second Intifada (violent uprising) against Israel in September 2000. Mahmoud Abbas, his successor, has had ample opportunities to reach an agreement with Israel. Abbas has negotiated with three Israeli Prime Ministers. Sharon (who withdrew Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and uprooted 9000 Jewish residents from their homes, handing the Strip to the Palestinians), Olmert (who made far-reaching concessions that included a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem, and bringing tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees into Israel) and Netanyahu (who agreed under pressure to a Two-State solution and a Palestinian State in the West Bank). With Netanyahu, Abbas not only set preconditions to the negotiations, but refused to agree to a settlement that recognized Israel as a Jewish State.
To insure its security, Israel must annex Area C – the area currently under Israeli civilian and military control as designated by the Oslo Accords. There will, no doubt, be an international outcry and broad condemnations of Israel, but this plan may be the only way to prevent a disaster for the Jewish State. In annexing Area C to Israel, which includes the Samaritan mountain ridges, the Jordan Valley, and the Jewish settlement blocks, Israel will be required to provide Israeli citizenship to approximately 50,000 Palestinians who reside in the area.
Areas A and B under the Oslo Accords, called for full Palestinian control in A and civilian Palestinian control in B as well as Israeli military presence. These areas include all of the West Bank cities and the villages surrounding them. The Palestinians would then be able to declare a state unilaterally, and Israel would then withdraw its forces from area B.
To create a stable and durable government, the Palestinians should seek to form a federation with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Optimally, the Jordanian monarch would be above the government and would insure against corruption. The Palestinians would be able to have full self-government in the West Bank or be part of a combined Jordanian-Palestinian government. This may not be Obama’s vision for a Palestinian State, but it is a viable solution to an intractable problem. Israeli action as described above is the only way to break the current impasse between Israel and the Palestinians.
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Jesus doesn’t change His mind
Joseph Farah sets Obama straight on biblical stance on homosexuality
How do I put this politely?
Barack Obama has added blasphemy to his many egregious offenses by suggesting he has changed his mind for the third time in his life on the completely sinful concept of same-sex marriage after studying the teachings of Jesus.
That makes four different positions on same-sex marriage in a span of 17 years.
That’s some serious flip-flopping – all of which coincided with political races he was running.
But we’re to believe he’s come to this fourth position after studying the teachings of Jesus.
This is a difficult concept because Jesus taught the opposite – that marriage was intended as a lifelong institution for one man and one woman. And, unlike Obama, Jesus never changed His mind.
In Matthew 19: 4-6, Jesus said, ” … Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Not only has man put asunder individual marriages, but Obama now seeks openly – in the name of Jesus – to put asunder the entire concept of marriage.
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
You mean our military personnel are fighting on his behalf – not the nation’s? This is the kind of arrogance we’ve all become familiar with during the Obama era. It’s all about him.
Now let’s examine Obama’s biblical rational for his flip-flopping:
“This is something that, you know, we’ve talked [He and Michelle] about over the years and she, you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.”
Christ sacrificed Himself on the cross for humanity’s sins – which include homosexuality, according unambiguously to both the Old Testament and the New Testament. So what exactly does the atonement have to do with Obama’s shifting views on what the Bible deems an “abomination”?
Mind you, just the practice of homosexuality is an abomination, according to Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 23:13. Romans 1:26-27 show this view did not change after Jesus’ death and resurrection. But what Obama is advocating is something more than just the practice of an “abomination” and a “vile practice.” He’s also promoting the profaning of marriage, an institution Jesus said was created by God in the Garden of Eden.
As for the Golden Rule, Jesus never suggested or hinted that we should condone sin in others because we would want them to condone it in us. That’s what I would characterize as a complete distortion of the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule was meant to bring people closer to God, not make them feel comfortable in their sin. The most loving thing any believer can do for a homosexual or other sinner is to confront them on their sin – to make them feel uncomfortable.
But what do you expect from biblical exegesis from Barack Obama? He sat at the feet of one Jeremiah Wright for more than 20 years – a raving psychopath in clerical garb.
Jesus doesn’t change his mind, but Obama surely does – over and over and over again.
California Considers Legislation Making it a Crime to Counsel Children
Not to Be Homosexual
California Senate Bill 1172 would make it illegal for therapists, psychologists, counselors and parents to engage in any kind of “sexual orientation change efforts” against children 18 and younger.
Violators could be subject to arrest, fines, possible jail time.
The bill, which passed out of a legislative committee Tuesday on a 5-3 vote, would also require adults to sign a consent form before they could seek therapy or counseling to change their sexual orientation.
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute of Sacramento, Calif., pledges to challenge the constitutionality of the measure in the courts, if it passes the Legislature.
“This legislation is a grotesque violation of the rights of parents over their children,” said Dacus, who testified against the bill Tuesday.
He said the bill, which targets reparative therapy, could also lead to parents losing custody of their children to the state if they seek therapy for their youngsters.
“It specifically prohibits any child under the age of 18 who struggles with homosexuality from getting any kind of professional counseling at all, period,” Dacus told CNSNews.com.
“In fact, it also subjects parents to possibly having their children permanently removed from them if it is found that the parents were not accepting of a child’s perception of being homosexual and the parents want the child to get counseling.”
“If the parents are not totally accepting of this sexual orientation, then that is deemed abuse and gives the government grounds to permanently take the child from the parents.
The sponsor, Sen. Ted W. Lieu (D-Carson), said his bill helps raise public awareness of “bogus” and “unethical” therapies by mental-health providers who promise to help change a person’s sexual orientation.
“Under the guise of a California license, some therapists are taking advantage of vulnerable people by pushing dangerous sexual orientation-change efforts,” Lieu said Tuesday after the bill passed out of the California Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.
“These bogus efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish. This is junk science and it must stop.”
The bill declares that “there is no evidence that any kind of psychotherapy can cause sexual orientation change.”
It also states that sexual orientation change efforts “pose critical health risks” to lesbian, gay and bisexual people, including: “confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic partners, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, sexual dysfunction, high-risk sexual behaviors, a feeling of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having wasted time and resources.”
Most counseling profession organizations in the state — including the California Psychological Association, the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapy — oppose the bill as written, dubbing it an unwarranted intrusion.
“The statutory ban on types of therapy is not the venue and there is very little precedent in state law to make an outright ban on a specific type of therapy,” the CPA said in written testimony on the bill.
“The fact that this bill is opposed by many of the professional organizations that normally are quite liberal on homosexuality, I think, indicates how extreme this legislation is,” said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for cultural studies at the Family Research Council.
“It really flies in the face of a fundamental ethical principle within the counseling profession, which is – the autonomy of the client in determining the goals for treatment,” he said.
“In any other context, other than homosexuality, that principle would be considered sacrosanct. But somehow these state legislators feel that they can run roughshod over it when it comes to people who experience unwanted same-sex attractions,” Sprigg told CNSNews.com.
Peter LaBarbera, executive director of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, said the bill’s passage would be “a tragedy.”
“Not all ex-gays go through reparative therapy,” LaBarbera said. “There are many people who have a religious experience, they change through Christ. This is not the only way that people change. But this is a way that some people have found help. And it’s an outrage that California is now stepping in and making it more and more difficult to get this help.”
The National Association on Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which opposes the bill, did not provide comment to CNSNews.com for this story.
The bill will now go for a vote by the full California Senate.
The Rise of the Saudi Superstate
May 15th, 2012
Reprinted from FrontPageMag.com
The 32nd summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council may be remembered as the dawn of the Caliphate with the Saudi proposal to accelerate the union of the six GCC States likely to dramatically change the region. The union is being described as “EU Style,” but in practice it would be a larger version of the United Arab Emirates, a federation of tribal monarchies.
The combined entity would have a 1 trillion dollar GDP and some 35 percent of the world’s oil reserves, giving it immeasurable influence on the global stage. And that nucleus of power and wealth would be used to consolidate its influence over rest of the region and the world. If the GCC integrates Yemen, it will be able to turn the Persian Gulf into the Arabian Gulf, and if it integrates Libya, Sudan and Iraq, then it will have a combined population of 100 million and be able to approach the 50 percent world oil reserves marker.
Whether or not the GCC can transition to a Muslim EU, in the words of its charter, “founded on the creed of Islam,” is still an open question. In the last five years the GCC has struggled toward adopting a common market and a common currency, its unity undercut by suspicion of the House of Saud and internal rivalries. While Article Four of the GCC Charter had always made unity into a goal of the GCC and previous Riyadh Declarations had called for consolidating their Arab and Islamic identities into a regional union, there was never enough external pressure and internal promise to make that feasible.
Iran’s nuclear program and the Arab Spring have changed all that. Saudi Arabia’s suppression of Shiite protesters in Bahrain was the first significant use of the GCC’s previously inept Peninsula Shield Force. The victory in Bahrain has kept its Sunni monarchy in power and made it dependent on Saudi backing which has also made its officials into the most enthusiastic proponents of the union.
Holding back the Arab Spring in Bahrain was not only a proxy victory against Iran, it also demonstrated that Saudi influence could hold off Western action against GCC members under its umbrella and gave added weight to Saud Al-Faisal’s call for a combined military and foreign policy. Saudi Arabia can offer GCC members the protection of its enormous influence in the West, as well as one of the largest armies in the region, armed and trained by the United States, and an eventual nuclear umbrella.
The Obama Administration has left the nations of the region with very few options. They can either wait for America and Europe to hand them over to the Muslim Brotherhood on a democratic platter. They can become puppets of Iran. They can long for the return of a Turkish Ottoman Empire under the AKP. Or they can look to the Saudis for leadership and aid.
The Arab Spring has set two Caliphate movements on track. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Caliphate which is to consist of the Arab Socialist countries whose governments were overthrown in the Arab Spring, Egypt and Tunisia, and possibly Syria and Libya. And the GCC, a more traditional Caliphate of tribal monarchs with oil wealth.
The two Caliphates are not in conflict, they actually complement one another. While there have been some harsh words exchanged between the GCC and the Muslim Brotherhood over the group’s growing conflict with the UAE, amid accusations that the Brotherhood is plotting to begin a takeover of GCC countries as early as next year, the rise of the Brotherhood only helps push wavering Sunni states into the Saudi camp.
Middle Eastern countries that don’t want to risk being taken apart by the tripartite alliance of Islamists, liberals and Western democracy advocates need someone to protect them. If that same alliance succeeds in bringing down Syria, with GCC backing and military intervention from Western nations, that will conclusively demonstrate to the region that Iran is incapable of protecting its allies, the way that Saudi Arabia was able to protect Bahrain, not to mention Sudan, despite an international consensus that Sudan is a genocidal state.
While the affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood try to tie together a disparate collection of countries, the GCC will proceed from a more stable base, taking in Yemen and contending with Iran over Bahrain and then Iraq. The GCC will avoid overextending itself beyond countries where it already has a presence, but those countries harnessed together wield enough power and influence to fundamentally change the region.
The Saudi Caliphate has two advantages, money and monarchy. The oil wealth of the kingdoms means that they can stave off most domestic unrest with more bread and circuses, while directing the anger of their people outward in the Jihad against the West. With no elections of any importance to worry about and deeper tribal support that makes them much less reliant on the military apparatus and secret police of other Arab dictators– it has the time and space to form into a Saudi Superstate.
Bahrain will be the Caliphate’s first test. If the Saudis can hold Bahrain against Iranian unrest and Western human rights pressure, then they will have proven to be the strong horse in the region. However if they lose Bahrain, then the GCC will be exposed as a hollow shell entirely dependent on American support for its survival. The Shiite populations are the GCC’s first challenge. If it can suppress them, then it will rule the Gulf.
None of this would have been possible twenty years ago in a region controlled by military strongmen, but the New Middle East of the last decade is a place increasingly dominated by Islamic powers. If Egypt and Syria both fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, then aside from Israel, the major military powers in the region will all be Sunni and Shiite Islamists, whether in Egypt, Turkey, Iran or Saudi Arabia.
The Middle East faces a choice between Cairo, Tehran and Riyadh, between the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ayatollahs and the Saudis, and while the choice is of grave importance to those in the region, it is really no choice at all. Either of the three will lead to Islamic tyranny, the repression of women and religious minorities and a war with the rest of the world.
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Arab Nations Hire 10 New PR Agencies Since Last Year
May 15th, 2012
Reprinted from FrontPageMag.com
The U.S. Public Relations industry is one which is very high profile, but is a tiny, close knit industry, with only perhaps 75 American PR firms having more than 50 employees (i.e. enough scope/influence to represent a foreign government or foreign interests). Over lunch recently, one of my peers, who like me owns one of the 25 largest US PR agencies, explained why his firm would no longer work with Jewish organizations and pro-Israel concerns. He explained there is simply too much money working for Arab organizations and interests, and between front groups, organizations and projects, from a business perspective, he was no longer working for pro-Israel or Jewish organizations. It’s a trend which will grow – and will see Arab interests even more positively portrayed in American media.
In the latest news, Bahrain in the last 12 months has hired at least ten public relations companies since last year. Yes, you read it right – ten – including Qorvis, the Washington company hired by Saudi Arabia to salvage that kingdom’s reputation abroad after the 9/11 terrorist attack. The regime of Bahrain, which tortures its own citizens, has an awful human rights record and doesn’t recognize the existence of Israel, also hired Joe Trippi, former campaign manager for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, and Sanitas International, whose partner Christopher Harvin is a former Bush White House aide.
In the “new” Middle East a lot has changed – except recognition of Israel, and millions are spent by Arab interests on professional public relations campaigns:
- Harbour Group, a Washington D.C. lobbying firm has been hired by the new Libyan government. As the Hill recently revealed, Harbour recently signed a new $15,000 per month contract with the Libyan embassy. Patton Boggs, another large K Street lobbying group, is also now representing the new Libyan regime. They previously worked with Gadhafi, alongside the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Monitor Group and held a hefty $250,000 per month contract with Tripoli, recruiting prominent American academics to praise the Libyan government.
- It’s nothing new in the Middle East – Arab governments spend lots of money on public relations. The Syrian regime continues to butcher thousands of their people in the streets – and its by and large missing from the mainstream media (and one of the things a good crisis PR agency is able to do is ensure negative stories never be printed). One day we will read about who is working for Syria now. A few months ago hackers released hundreds of e-mails from Syrian President Assad’s office, which revealed a document preparing Assad for his December 2011 interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters.
- This week, the glowing profile and stunning full-page picture of Asma al-Assad, Syria’s First Lady, which appeared in Vogue in February 2011 with the titled: “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert” was quietly removed from Vogue’s website. Vogue wouldn’t comment on why the story was removed – but the story which described her as “glamorous, young, and very chic – the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies,” ran as the Syrian government was butchering anti-regime protesters. A PR firm, Brown Lloyd James, worked for Syria to arrange the story in the past.
Brown Lloyd James worked in the past to boost the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadaffi. They said, “…we assisted the Libyan government in its efforts to reach out to the international political community through the United Nations and to the U.S. political and university community.”
- Terrorist organizations Hamas, Hezbollah, and certain Arab nations have hired PR agencies to lobby for them in the press and on the world stage. Terror groups have engaged reporters and journalists, shared meals and drinks with them and won their favor.
- Fenton Communications, a New York City–based PR firm, works with the Arab state of Qatar to develop a campaign to essentially delegitimize Israel by orchestrating an international anti-Israel campaign aimed at breaking the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Fenton Communications also works for “Al Fakhoora,” a Qatar-based pro-Palestinian initiative that has “launched an advocacy campaign to file legal charges against Israel and change the public perception in the West about its actions.” An April 2012 website spoke of working with NYC Fenton Communications to help campaign to help end the blockade in Gaza. They continue to assist terror groups clearly.
- The PLO Mission in the U.S hired Bell Pottinger, a leading International PR agency, to provide “advice on strategic communications, public relations, media relations and congressional affairs.”
- U.S. PR giant Burson–Marsteller, in response to Israel’s request for a meeting, said: “We will not deliver tender to such a project… we are running a commercial venture. If we accept this project, this will create a great amount of negative reactions…Israel is a particularly controversial project.”
There’s a reason the Arabs win in the media — they hire communications professionals – they spend money and will continue to win. In the Middle East, slaughtering of innocent people continues – from Bahrain to Syria and Public Relations pros allow them to continue to sell their stories.
I was saddened this week over lunch when my peer explained to me why his agency would no longer work for Jewish or Israel interests – and while 5WPR wouldn’t work for the barbarians who slaughter innocent people, our competitors make millions selling terror and brutality.
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Religious Left Opposes Pressure Against Iranian Nukes
Posted by Mark D. Tooley
May 16th, 2012
Bipartisan resolutions proposed in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, equally backed by Republicans and Democrats, are urging the “President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and oppose any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.”
So naturally the Religious Left is opposing these mostly symbolic statements, because largely pacifist prelates do not believe any situation, no matter how dire, ever merits even the implied contemplation of force. They also are more concerned about military force from the U.S. or Israel than they are about nuclear weapons in the hands of apocalyptic Iranian mullahs.
Complaining that the congressional resolutions would “undermine diplomatic efforts,” the leftist churchmen warn the statements would set a “dangerously low threshold for war” by “ruling out containment,” possibly even, by some interpretations endorsing “military force against Iran now.”
The ecumenical complaint to members of Congress was organized by the Presbyterian Church (USA) chief Capitol Hill lobbyist. It was signed by Quaker and Mennonite officials, a left-wing Catholic order, and the lobby offices of the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.
Noting that Iran’s theocracy since at least the late 1980s has “engaged in a sustained and well-documented pattern of illicit and deceptive activities to acquire nuclear capability,” the congressional resolutions cite Iran as the “most active state sponsor of terrorism,” according to the U.S. State Department. They also recalled the U.S. Treasury Department’s finding last year that Iran had a “secret deal” to help al Qaeda. Of course they mentioned Iran’s genocidal threats against Israel. And they pointed at the Islamic Republic’s “serious human rights abuses,” according to the United Nations, including “torture, cruel and degrading treatment in detention, the targeting of human rights defenders, violence against women, and ‘the systematic and serious restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly’ as well as severe restrictions on the rights to ‘freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.’”
The Congressional resolutions, noting Iran’s continued failure to comply with international non-proliferation standards, urge continued diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran until it ends its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. It also commends the “universal rights and democratic aspirations of the Iranian people.”
Leftist prelates in the U.S. of course are not particularly interested in disarming or democratizing Iran. Instead, they complain the congressional resolutions are “undercutting” diplomacy, which “heightens the potential war.” They quote various critics claiming the resolutions resemble pre-2003 justifications for the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein Iraq. They insist Iran has not yet decided for nuclear weapons. And they reiterate: “Direct, sustained diplomacy remains the single most effective way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and avert war. And they implore: “We urge you to support diplomacy, not war, with Iran, and to oppose” the congressional resolutions.
The Religious Left statement never mentions human rights in Iran. And it does not propose alternatives in case diplomacy continues to fail. Of course, it does not admit that potential threats of military force may strengthen diplomacy against Iranian mullahs not typically impressed by anything other than force.
Next month, the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly will consider a resolution opposing any even implied threats against Iran’s mullahs. It would place the 2 million member denomination on record opposing “preemptive military action by any nation against Iran.” And it calls for “direct, unconditional negotiations between the United States and Iran with the goal of… implementing a peaceful resolution.” The proposed resolution, coming from Atlanta area Presbyterians, declares the church is “not confident, judging from past experience, that the U.S.A. has given sufficient thought… to the consequences of such an attack in Iran itself and across the Middle East.”
The Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons composed his own Iran policy, telling President Obama earlier this year, according to Presbyterian News Service: “The Christian tradition we share urges us to seek limits to violence and, therefore, requires us to oppose any rush to initiate another war in the Middle East.” Parsons cited the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as reasons to be wary. And he opined: “Negotiations do work. Look at the North Korean decision to suspend their nuclear program.” Parsons also claimed that Just War teaching argues against any force against Iran. The largely pacifist Religious Left’s understanding of the Just War tradition is that absolutely no situation would ever meet its impossibly exacting standards.
None of these churchmen discussed how a nuclear armed Iran might affect the Middle East and the world. Nor did they even really express that much distress about Iranian nukes. In typical fashion, purported over reactions by the U.S. and Israel are the chief concerns.
The Religious Left does not have a very admirable history regarding Iran’s theocratic dictatorship. Although often recalling the reputed U.S. role in restoring the Shah to power in 1953 as one of the century’s supposed great crimes, religious leftists almost never comment on the far more murderously tyrannical regime that replaced the Shah. Even during the 1979-1980 hostage crisis, the U.S. National Council of Churches chastised the U.S. by praying America would “resume a more open views towards the needs and concerns of the Iranian people.”
The United Methodist Council of Bishops, at about the same time, confessed: “We have committed grave sins against the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” One bishop even visited Ayatollah Khomeini and afterwards pronounced that the “Islamic system is a democratic system founded on popular consensus.” An official from the church’s lobby office, called the Board of Church and Society, which has backed the recent letter against pressuring Iran, in 1980 even bailed out from jail and tried to provide bus transportation for pro-Khomeini Iranian student demonstrators in Washington, D.C. “I know there are individuals in the Iranian power structure who do trust The United Methodist church,” one bishop boasted in 1981. No doubt.
Churches are right to hope and pray for a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear situation. But the Religious Left once again demonstrates it has no moral authority when it villainizes the U.S. and Israel, while ignoring the Iranian theocracy’s over 3 decades of monstrous crimes, not to mention the nightmarish scenario of Iranian nukes. Members of Congress of both parties who live in the real world will rightly ignore the Religious Left’s foolish stance.
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Gallup: Slight Majority Say Homosexuality Morally Acceptable
(Photo: REUTERS/Stephen Lam)People walk past a rainbow pride flag, a symbol of the LGBT movement, in the Castro district in San Francisco, California May 9, 2012.
A new Gallup poll shows that a slight majority, 54 percent, of Americans believe that homosexuality is acceptable. Forty-two percent say that homosexuality is morally wrong.
In a Tuesday interview with The Christian Post, Frank Newport, editor in chief for Gallup, explained that support for same-sex marriage has tended to track closely with the belief that homosexuality is acceptable.
“Overall, they’re very close and they’ve kind of followed the same trend pattern if you look over time,” Newport said. “So, basically, they’re both rising together and falling together and so forth.”
According to the poll, 50 percent currently say same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid. In 1999, only 35 percent said so.
Gallup has asked the question about whether gay/lesbian relations are morally acceptable every year since 2001. That year, 53 percent of Americans said that homosexuality is morally wrong and 40 percent said it is morally acceptable. Belief that homosexuality is morally acceptable steadily increased until 2010. Since then, the numbers have remained steady at between 52-56 percent.
Last week, sixty-one percent of North Carolina voters supported an amendment to their state constitution that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Thirty-one states have voted to add amendments to their state constitutions that ban same-sex marriage. In those states, even liberal-leaning states like California, those amendments have passed, many with over 60 percent support.
There are two possible reasons, Newport explained, that there is greater support for same-sex marriage in polls than in state referendums. First, Gallup’s poll is nationwide, but the referendums are isolated to individual states where support for same-sex marriage may be lower than for the nation as a whole.
Second, voting in a referendum is largely based upon turnout. Those who turn out to vote are not necessarily representative of the state as a whole. It may be that voters who do not support same-sex marriage turn out to vote in higher numbers than those who do support same-sex marriage.
A CBS News/New York Times poll released Monday showed 38 percent support for same-sex marriage. Newport explained the different result is due to the choices offered to respondents. The CBS/NYT poll offered respondents a choice between same-sex marriage, same-sex civil unions or no legal recognition for same-sex couples. Gallup only asked respondents if they were for or against legalized same-sex marriage.
The May 3-6 Gallup poll of 1,024 American adults has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.
Christian Marriage Conference in UK Banned for Opposition
to Homosexual Marriage
The organizers of a marriage conference in Britain have been told they can no longer hold the event on their regular hired premises because they support the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
The Law Society in England has revoked its permission for “Christian Concern” to hold the conference on its premises saying that the event would breach its “diversity policy” due to the Christian group’s religious beliefs that there should be no redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.
In an email to Christian Concern, the Law Society’s Adam Tallis said the event was “contrary to our diversity policy, espousing as it does an ethos which is opposed to same-sex marriage.”
Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, said: “We are proud of our role in promoting diversity in the solicitors’ profession and felt that the content of this conference sat uncomfortably with our stance. Through our events and venues supplier, we have assisted the organizers in identifying an alternative, non Law Society venue.”
Speakers lined up for the conference included British High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge, who recently launched a campaign to reduce the rate of family breakdown in Britain. The Bow Group’s Ben Harris-Quinney, ResPublica’s Philip Blond and media commentator Cristina Odone were also due to speak.
The conference had been organized by Christian Concern to debate marriage in light of the British government’s plans to alter the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.
The plans have met stiff opposition from church leaders and the wider public, with some Conservative Party MPs believing that their recent local election losses were in part down to Prime Minister David Cameron’s support for gay marriage.
Christian Concern’s Chief Executive Andrea Williams has said she was not looking for another venue for the event.
In a statement, she said the Law Society’s decision to close down debate on marriage represented a “fundamental misreading of the Equality Act.”
“Since when can debate be against diversity?” she said. “This action by the professional body of thousands of solicitors across the U.K., all of whom would be supportive of ‘free speech‘, demonstrates how discussion on traditional views of marriage is being shut down before any change in the law to redefine marriage has come into force.”
She added: “How can the Law Society’s ‘diversity policy’ not include the protection and respect of a range of views on the issue of marriage and, why has the Law Society adopted a pro-same-sex marriage policy ahead of the outcome of the Government’s Consultation and, without consulting its members?
“This colloquium was intended to be a genuine open debate on the issues, constructing a case for marriage in the public sphere, and they seem to be closing it down.”
The Bow Group’s Ben Harris-Quinney added: “That a broad and professional organization like the Law Society would decide to attempt to ban such a necessary, salient debate from taking place on their premises is exceptionable, and calls into question the value of their function in representing solicitors in England & Wales in upholding the law of a free nation.”