December 17, 2004

Exposing "Iraq The Model"

The debate over whether the Fadhil brothers' Iraq the Model blog has covert US backing continues, with Ali Fadhil finally responding to questions posed four days earlier at the Martini Republic.
Are the brothers now or have they ever been in any kind of American pay (beyond the largesse of their rightwing PayPal contributors)?"

Yes and no. Yes we were promised by "Spirit of America" to pay for the costs of our NGO "Friends of Democracy" and its projects to help build democracy in Iraq, and they said they have sent some money but we haven't got it yet...
OK, let's have a look at the "Spirit Of America" group (SoA). Who are these people? Well, basically they are a fund-raising and PR arm of Paul Wolfowitz's neo-conservative coterie, in league with Bush's buddies in the US oil and gas industry, masquerading as peace-loving fans of US-style "democracy".


Here's a critical piece of information for you "freedom"-loving ITM and SoA folks:


Spirit of America operates under the auspices of Cyber Century Forum, a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. And Cyber Century Forum's tax return for 2003 shows that it is financially supported by $109,440 in corporate stocks from Schlumberger Ltd, "the leading oilfield services technology company supplying technology, project management and information solutions to the oil and gas industries."

Isn't that a big surprise? "Freedom and Democracy for Iraq", sponsored by the US oil and gas industry.

Now, when Omar and Mohammed from ITM were invited to a White House meeting with President Bush, they were accompanied by Jim Hake, chairman and founder of Spirit Of America, plus another SoA executive, Kerry Dupont. What's more, Paul Wolfowitz - who has previously championed the ITM blog, was also present (I assume that it was Wolfie who set up the meeting, for the benefit of both SoA and ITM).

Here's a first-hand account of that meeting from Spirit of America head Jim Hake himself (link courtesy of Shot In The Dark):
On Thursday, Omar and Mohammed from Iraq the Model and Friends of Democracy, Kerry Dupont from SoA and I met with President Bush in the Oval Office. It was a half-hour meeting with the President. Paul Wolfowitz was also there.

I'll be posting more information in the next two days but here are two items.

About half way into the meeting the President said to Omar and Mohammed, "I want you two to know that we are going to stay until the job is done. It doesn't matter what the rest of the world says. It doesn't matter what the UN says. We are going to stay until the job is done. It's important that your country knows that." It was a powerful and moving moment.

After talking about Spirit of America, Pres. Bush turned to Omar and Mohammed and said, " You see gentlemen, that is the beauty of America. I never met this man before but he's out there helping to win this war on terror just as much as Wolfie here. That's what I believe in." He went on to talk about the importance of private-sector, grass roots initiatives like SoA.
Yeah, you gotta love your private sector when it comes to making things happen for the GOP. Let's just take a look at how SoA and ITM operate, for instance...

SoA have just finished running a Friends of Iraq Blogger Challenge. To enter the challenge, "all you have to do is link to your fundraising page and encourage your visitors to donate." The ITM site won the Individual Blog category, raising over $17,000, well ahead of other right-wing blogs like Little Green Footballs and Roger L. Simpson. The Challenge raised a total of $90,177 for SoA.

In return for winning the challenge, the ITM brothers get a free SoA cap and T-shirt. No money. I'd love to know if Ali plans to wear the SoA cap and T-shirt around downtown Baghdad.

Iraq The Model were also recently the winners were for best non-American blog at Right Wing News' "Annual Warblogger Awards". That's right, Right... Wing... News.

And yet Ali Fadhil protests that he does not want to be associated with right-wing US politics!
I was never invited to meet Bush (neither my brothers knew until they were there) and we don't know why he wanted that, but this is where I agree with you that those who did set up this meeting had their own motives that we don't share with them...

The world is bigger than you and your partisan conflicts and frankly I'm getting sick of it. Take this crap somewhere else and leave us alone! We have enough problems to deal with and we are not interested in supporting any party anwhere, as simply we cannot afford the time or the effort.
Do you know what, Ali? This is something I can actually agree with you on, to some extent. I am always accused of being a pro-Kerry leftist (if not a Communist) because I oppose Bush and virtually all his policies. It's really frustrating.

But do you know what else, Ali? If you and your brothers are not working covertly with the CIA or other US agencies, then you must be the most gullible, foolish and pathetically manipulated stooges in Iraq, if not the world. I mean, you have just raised over $17,000 for people whose motives you do not share? Come off it.

Are you going to tell us you were duped by the people from Spirit of America? Or are you just trying to disassociate yourself from Bush's neoconservatives at this late stage because there are elections coming soon and that sort of thing just doesn't play too well with the average Iraqi (i.e. you are out of touch with mainstream Iraqi opinion, which was exactly what Juan Cole said in the first place).

(Follow the debate here or at Juan Cole or at Martini Republic).

UPDATE 1: Schlumberger provide over 90% of the financial support for Spirit of America's parent company, Cyber Century Forum. The rest is provided by Transocean Sedco Forex, the world's largest offshore drilling company.

UPDATE 2: When asked what three things Iraqis would most like from the US, ITM blogger Omar replied, "Support, love, and encouragement." Compare that with Riverbend's Christmas wish list, which includes gasoline, kerosine, landmine detectors and diesel generators. Who do YOU think is more in touch with real Iraqis?

73 comments:

Quilly Mammoth said...

Gandhi,
The $109K in stocks, according to the cite you give, only provided $1,200.00 in interest which they added to their budget. Wahoooo! Big Oil!!

What I find so disturbing about this is that through tenuous, at best, logic these men have been identified as possible CIA agents. Do you not think that this is a little reckless since they _live_ in Iraq?

I'm sure you thought that Valerie Plame was terrible, and it was, but her life is not in the danger you, Jaun Cole and Joseph Mailander have put the brothers in.

QM

gandhi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
gandhi said...

As for putting the brother's lives in danger, let's not get started on another red herring. The brothers know the risk when they post such blatantly pro-US comments (and you guys all applaud them for their "bravery"). Furthermore, THEY JUST SHOOK HANDS WITH BUSH AND WOLFOWITZ IN THE WHITE HOUSE - that alone makes them more of a target for anti-US forces than anything said on a blog. Let's stick to the subject this time, eh?

As for the money, the point is not how much interest the stock provides on an annual basis, the point is that this financial backing protects the company from insolvency and allows it to operate. Now why would a US oil company want to allocate over $100K for that?

Don't you agree it is very strange? Doesn't it BOTHER YOU?

Anonymous said...

Leave the brothers alone. All they want is democracy for their country. Geez, the Left gets loonier everyday.

SML

Beth said...

My goodness, aren't you the conspiracy theorist? There is nothing 'right wing' about the Spirit of America blogathon - it's just that a lot of conservatives care more about the Iraqi people than leftists of your ilk.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Amazing....

Russ said...

Fantastic site. Very informative.

Anonymous said...

good post

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Anonymous said...

Anyone who believe's this should read the "Actual" tax return, as Ghandi appears to be totally incapable of doing so. The corporate funding for Spirit of America came from Seaview LLC, a shopping mall developer.

Anonymous said...

God Bless America!

God Bless BUSH

FOUR MORE YEARS!

Anonymous said...

I know this will be deleted as soon as the old gander sobers up!

GOD BLESS AMERICANS!

GOD BLESS BUSH!

FOUR MORE YEARS!

Anonymous said...

"A searchable database of evidence and analysis for the reality-based community"

WTF????? The irony is unbelievable!

Must have some good drugs in Australia!

No reality here! Nothing to see here folks, move along!

Anonymous said...

Gandhi,
I'm sorry for the cruel comments. It is obvious to me that you believe the things you are saying and even though I do not share your beliefs, there is no reason to be nasty.
Look for the peace inside yourself.

Mike SC USA said...

Gandhi sober up! To call Schlumberger LTD (named for Francois Conrad Schlumberger) an oil company is like calling Microsoft a computer maker. Further there were THREE DIVISIONS of Schlumberger in 2003 you fail to mention not just the oil SERVICES division. Its was founded in FRANCE and has principal offices in Paris, The Hague and ta-da NYC) Didier Primat a FRENCHman own 4% (6,803,600 share) of the company (net worth 1.6billion USD)

90% revenue? HUH?? Look at line 1a DIRECT PUBLIC SUPPORT $56,548 --that where the funding (aka INCOME) comes from not the measly $1509 from stocks.

Don’t you think it strange their contribution over the last 5 years were
1999--$70,050
2000--$100,200
2001--$75,000
2002--$45,000
2003--$56,548

Seems consistent to me—what’s your beef? The Officers (management) DONNATED their time so who made any money?

Jeeze your Sooooooo biased, it makes my head hurt.

And I thought we were talking money here. Anything under $200K is peanuts. The average price of a house is more than that!

Why didn’t you read page 13 Primary Purpose Statement—its about "[i]nformation technology and services in support of global economic development, education, heath care and quality of life'

Dave Nalle said...

So well put, Mike. I'm glad you saved me the trouble of going through the return point by point and showing how absolutely flawed Ghandi's analysis of it was.

The only things you didn't mention is that Schlumberger's oil division is mostly involved in offshore drilling, which is not the primary method of drilling in Iraq, and that in fact, the companies which will benefit from Iraqi oil are the distribiution companies not the drilling companies as the drilling is being done primarily by Iraqi organizations.

The other item is that there's no indication where that Schlumberger stock came from in the return. If it was a gift to Cyber Century, then there's a connection to at least think about, but as the return stands it could just as easily have been bought by them, in which case it's CC giving money to Schlumberger, not the other way around.

Dave
http://www.elitispig.com

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Dave Nalle said...

Apparently Gandhi has a thick skull and a love of abuse. To continue to pursue this ridiculous conspiracy theory after having been savagely debunked on every aspect of it shows a remarkable devotion to his alternative version of reality. Listen up folks - there's no point in talking to him - he's just an intransigent idiot who's never going to see sense. Don't waste your time. Just ignore him.

Dave
http://www.elitistpig.com

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