Tuesday, August 02, 2005

PR for the civil war

Republican PR Firm Helps Divide Iraq

Proving once again that the war in Iraq was designed not to make America safe, but to make Republican businesses rich, word came out yesterday that the Kurdish Regional Government had hired California based public relations firm Russo, Marsh and Rogers (RM&R).

”Our job” with the Kurds, RM&R's Joe Wierzbicki told IPS, ”is to carry out a public relations campaign that will thank the American people for supporting the war in Iraq, and encourage Americans to visit and invest in the Kurdish region.”

Russo, Marsh and Rogers is a right wing PR firm that we have written about extensively here at Words Have Power. RM&R was the force behind Move American Forward, an astroturf political action group that RM&R uses to build its base of potential supporters and financiers of right wing candidates and causes.

Prior to taking on Kurdistan as a client, RM&R's most recent activity in Iraq was its involvement with Howard Kaloogian's "Truth Tour". Kaloogian has been a shill for Russo, Marsh and Rogers ever since the firm developed the Move On America website.

"Before Russo Marsh & Rogers finalised the deal with the Kurds, it had other business in Iraq to attend to: handling the publicity for the ”Truth Tour,” a seven-day carefully calibrated trip to Iraq by a group of conservative radio talk-show hosts that was intended to spread the ”good news” about what is happening on the ground.

The tour was organised by Move America Forward (MAF), an organisation that, according to the Washington Post, owes much of its existence to the good offices of Russo Marsh & Rogers. The Office of Media Outreach, a taxpayer-funded publicity arm of the Department of Defence, also sponsored the tour."

The links between right wing groups like RM&R and major Republican corporate donors such as Halliburton and the war in Iraq is unambigious. The war in Iraq and indeed the Bush's War on Terror has been very good to these companies.

How RM&R is going to help the Kurds is a interesting question. So far the campaign has not been complete defined.

"RM&R's Wierzbicki was circumspect about exactly which issues his firm would be handling. But according to O'Dwyer's PR Daily, one of the chief goals of Kurdish leaders is ”the return of Kirkuk,” an oil-rich northern Iraqi city populated by Kurdish and Turkmen people.

The struggle over Kirkuk could precipitate a major conflict within Iraq. The public relations campaign's launch date could come as soon as later this summer or could be put off until the fall, Wierzbicki said, and the campaign will would likely feature television and print advertisements."

Is this a great country or what? The Bush Administration's bungling creates the opportunity for a civil war in Iraq and companies like Russo, Marsh and Rogers profit from it.