Jumpin On Board The Bush Buzz Machine
Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine has been taking a very superficial look at my allegations against the Fadhil brothers at Iraq The Model and Free Iraqi. Cheered on by some of the regulars from those blogs, Jarvis has now abandoned all pretense of independent thought and is simply re-posting old stories from these wildly pro-US blogs.
He's also joined the concerted attack on New York Times reporter Sarah Boxer for daring to even mention the possibility that these blogs could be US PsyOps at work.
(Way to go, Jeff. Hope you are being well paid for your efforts.)
What bugs me most about this sort of manufactured group-think hysteria is that the real facts get totally ignored in all the personalized attacks.
FACT: Iraq The Model is rabily pro-war and pro-USA, stifles dissenters and ignores negative stories like Abu Ghraib.
FACT: Iraq The Model raised at least $14,000 for Spirit of America.
FACT: Two of the three Iraq The Model bloggers were taken to the USA by Spirit of America, where they met with Bush and Wolfowitz in the White House (two Spirit of America execs were there too).
FACT: Spirit of America was established by a 3-person thinktank called Cyber Century Forum, dedicated to spreading US influence through the Internet.
FACT: Spirit of America is a client of a grassroots marketing group called Direct Impact. "Grassroots marketing" involves creating a "buzz" by getting seemingly ordinary people (or better yet, influential people) to promote a product by word-of-mouth. It is often criticized because the targets do not realise the opinions they are hearing are actually paid marketing.
FACT: Arch neocon Paul Wolfowitz has more than once cited the IRaq The Model blog when encouraging US media to put a more positive spin on events in Iraq.
FACT: Pro-war US visitors to ITM have already donated over US$10,000 to the Fadhil brothers, plus another US$14,000 for the brothers’ off-shoot political party, the Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party. (P.S. as yet I can find very little information about what list this party was on in the IRaq elections, and the ITM blog has had no news on it - if anyone knows, please advise).
FACT: Spirit of America's "Arabic blogging tool" is hosted on Spirit of America servers and all material posted on the blogs is monitored and censored.
FACT: Diana Lady Dougan, one of the 3 members of Cyber Century Forum, is also on the board of Qualcomm, which won the contract (after a very controversial bidding process) to provide Iraq's mobile phone network.
FACT: Cyber Century Forum's tax return for 2003 shows that it holds $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". It also holds a further US$9,292 in stocks from Transocean Sedco Forex, the world's largest offshore drilling company.
FACT: The CIA actually DOES fund US PsyOps in Iraq.
FACT: Iraq The Model and their US sponsors perfectly fit the US PsyOps profile.
Based on these FACTS, I do not think the conclusion that Iraq The Model is a form of US PsyOps should be casually dismissed as "another loony leftwing conspiracy".
If Jarvis, the warbloggers and/or the Fadhil brothers want this story to go away, they should try addressing these FACTS. Until then, suspiscions are only likely to grow more widespread.