Suche innerhalb des Archivs / Search the Archive All words Any words

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[] SAIC und Iraqi Media Network,

Es geht um SAIC, einen Konzern, der auch in der sonstigen
Militärelektronik sehr aktiv ist. Hier gibt es einige Neuigkeiten zum
von SAIC betriebenen Iraqi Media Network (IMN).
"The Iraqi (sometimes referred to as 'Indigenous') Media Network (IMN)
project, valued initially at a minimum of 25 million dollars, was
formally launched in mid-April as a successor to a psychological warfare
programme that beamed radio broadcasts before and during the war into
Iraq from a C-130 cargo plane called 'Commando Solo'."

IRAQ: Massive Military Contractor Makes Media Mess 

Analysis - By Katrin Dauenhauer and Jim Lobe 

WASHINGTON, Aug 13 (IPS) - It is no secret that U.S. defence and
construction companies -- particularly those with close ties to the
administration of President George W. Bush -- are making a lot of money
in the post-war rush for contracts in Iraq. 

Firms whose directors held membership in Defence Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld's Defence Policy Board (DPB) or in the 'Committee for the
Liberation of Iraq' (CLI) did not appear to suffer any handicap, either. 

Two big winners, of course, were Halliburton, whose last CEO was Vice
President Dick Cheney, and engineering giant Bechtel, whose senior vice
president, Jack Sheehan, serves on the DPB. Former Secretary of State
George Shultz, a Bechtel board member and former top executive, also
chaired CLI, a supposedly non-governmental body that helped lead the
march to war and dissolved itself late last month. 

Less well known is San Diego-based Scientific Applications International
Corporation (SAIC), one of the Pentagon's largest, most lucrative, and
politically connected contractors. Of the six billion dollars it earned
in revenue last year, about two thirds of it came from the U.S.
Treasury, mostly from the defence budget. 

SAIC is among the most mysterious and feared of the big 10 defence
giants -- feared because of its ruthlessness in procuring contracts,
says the 'Washington Post'; mysterious, in part because, as an
employee-owned company, it does not have to file with the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC), and because its press officers are notorious
for not providing information. Indeed, for this article, SAIC press
officers referred all questions to the Pentagon's general press office. 

SAIC, which specialises in advanced technologies that can be applied to
the battlefield, particularly in command and control systems, is now
deeply involved in the Pentagon's most important operations in Iraq.

That it should be is really no surprise, taking into account its various
connections. Among the hawks on the DPB, Rumsfeld's mini-think tank, for
example, is retired Admiral William Owens, a former vice chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff who also served as SAIC's president and CEO and is
currently its vice chairman. 

Another member of SAIC's board is retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing, who
until last summer served as the chief counter-terrorism expert on the
National Security Council (NSC) staff. 

Before that, Downing also served as a lobbyist for the Iraqi National
Congress (INC) led by Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial Iraqi expatriate
long championed by the neo-conservatives in the administration and the
DPB. Like Shultz, Downing was also on the board of the CLI, which, not
coincidentally, worked closely with the INC. 

Another prominent SAIC executive and former vice president also has a
long-standing connection with Iraq: David Kay, the former U.N. weapons
inspector who was hired by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in June
to head the effort to track down Iraqi weapons of mass destruction

A former senior science official in the Reagan administration, Kay
argued forcefully last fall against relying on U.N. weapons inspections
to ''contain'' Iraq and for removing Saddam Hussein from power. 

These connections may account for some of SAIC's success in landing
Iraqi-related contracts. 

For example, it has been running the Iraqi Reconstruction and
Development Council (IRDC) since the body was established by the
Pentagon in February. 

According to press accounts, the 150 mostly expatriate Iraqis employed
in the programme, most of who have been in Baghdad since May, are to
serve as the ''Iraqi face'' of the occupation authority. Senior members
of the IRDC, many of who have been closely associated with the INC, hold
posts at each of Iraq's 23 ministries with a mandate to rebuild them. 

Perhaps not coincidentally, SAIC's corporate vice president for
strategic assessment and development, Christopher Ryan Henry, joined the
Pentagon as Deputy Under Secretary of Defence for Policy at the same
time as the IRDC got underway, serving with Under Secretary of Defence
Douglas Feith, who was in overall charge of preparing for post-war Iraq. 

SAIC is also a sub-contractor under Vinnell Corporation, another big
defence contractor that has long been in charge of training for the
Saudi National Guard, hired to reconstitute and train a new Iraqi army. 

Not much is known about the progress that is being made in either of
those projects, but a third has become, by all accounts, a major

The Iraqi (sometimes referred to as 'Indigenous') Media Network (IMN)
project, valued initially at a minimum of 25 million dollars, was
formally launched in mid-April as a successor to a psychological warfare
programme that beamed radio broadcasts before and during the war into
Iraq from a C-130 cargo plane called 'Commando Solo'. 

But the IMN was considerably more ambitious in scope, since its aim, as
an outgrowth of the IRDC operation, was to put together a new
information ministry, complete with television, radio and a newspaper,
and the content that would make all three attractive to average Iraqis. 

To oversee the job, SAIC hired away the controversial director of Voice
of America (VOA), Robert Reilly, an outspoken right-wing ideologue who
began his public career in the 1980s as a propagandist in the White
House for the Nicaraguan contras. 

Reilly tangled immediately with his deputy, Mike Furlong, a Pentagon
contractor who worked on media issues in Kosovo. Both men were out of
the project by the end of June, according to knowledgeable sources. 

''SAIC didn't have any suitable qualification to run a media network,''
according to Rohan Jayasekera, who has kept an eye on media developments
in Iraq for London-based 'Index on Censorship'. ''The whole thing was so
incredibly badly planned by them that no one could make sense of what
they were doing,'' he told IPS. 

Jayasekera noted, for example, that SAIC ordered equipment that was
incompatible with existing systems in Iraq and that it had made no plans
for TV programming. When it asked for help from VOA, which considers
itself a professional news organisation, it was forced to rely on
hastily patched together and dubbed network news programmes, much of
which would appeal only to a domestic audience. 

''Increasingly, the newscasts became irrelevant for Iraqis,'' one source
told 'The Washington Post' in May. ''They're not really interested in
the Laci Peterson (murder) case''. 

A page reserved for the project on the website of the U.S. provisional
authority in Iraq said Wednesday, "There is no information available at
this time." 

Three months into the project, Ahmad Rikabi, a highly-regarded Iraqi
expatriate brought in to help manage the operation, abruptly quit,
apparently frustrated at the lack of planning, resources and investment
that SAIC put in the project and the haemorrhaging of his professional
staff, some of whom had not been paid for weeks. 

''Saddam Hussein is doing better at marketing himself, through Al
Jazeera and Al Arabiya Gulf channels,'' Rikabi told reporters. 

One of the project's principal trainers, Don North, who had worked with
media in Afghanistan, has also quit, complaining to the 'New York Times'
that the Pentagon was not interested in professional journalism. 

''Its role was envisioned to be an information conduit,'' he said, ''and
not just rubberstamp flakking for the CPA,'' the initials of the
occupation authority run by Jerry Bremer. 

The Pentagon itself has kept the project stumbling along on short-term
contracts with SAIC, but, according to Jayasekera, is actively looking
for an alternative. The fact that that SAIC was hired in the first
place, however, ''appears to have been a serious mistake''. 


Liste verlassen: 
Mail an infowar -
 de-request -!
- infopeace -
 de mit "unsubscribe" im Text.