December 17, 2018

Press Freedom

United States

United States December 6, 2005

Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301
Fax: (703) 695-4299
 

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

This week’s disclosure that the Pentagon is paying to plant propaganda in Iraqi media is an outrage not only to legitimate journalists, but to the very idea of democracy that the United States aims to promote in the Middle East.

After being briefed by military officials, Senator John Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, confirmed that the military had hired the Lincoln Group, a public relations firm, to translate and distribute articles with positive messages about the mission in Iraq . This is a blatant violation of ethics, intended to mislead the people of Iraq to believe that your propaganda was honest journalism. To make the scandal worse, Senator Warner also confirmed that Lincoln was paying monthly stipends to friendly Iraqi journalists.

There can be no excuse or justification for such behavior. After last January’s similar disclosure that the Department of Education was distributing propaganda in the form of television clips and making under-the-table payments totaling $240,000 to the columnist, Armstrong Williams, to promote its policies, President Bush himself condemned these practices and ordered them stopped. How could your people have continued the Lincoln Group arrangement after that? Was no one in the Defense Department reading the newspapers or watching television?

Thank you for your attention. We remind you that we have received no reply to our letter of October 29, protesting mistreatment by U.S. forces of journalists in Iraq . We hope you will address those issues as well in your response to this letter.
 

Very truly yours,
Larry Martz
Norman Schorr
Co-chairmen, Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

 

President George W. Bush   

Office of the President   

The White House   Reuters     

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW   

Washington , DC 20500   

Fax: (202) 456-2461/ 2886

David A. Schlesinger

Global Managing Editor

Reuters

South Colonnade

Canary Wharf

London E14 5EP

England

United Kingdom

Fax: (011.44.20.7) 833-9731

 

General George Casey

Commander, Coalition Task Force 7   

Baghdad   

Iraq   

Fax: (703) 270-0270   

International Editor

CBS News

524 West 57 Street

New York, NY 10019

 

Ibrahim al-Jaafari           

Prime Minister           

Office of the Prime Minister         

Baghdad             

Republic of Iraq

News Editor

Al-Jazeera

editor@aljazeera.net

Fax: (011.974) 442-6864

Hassan Fatah Pasha           

Editor               

Iraq Today             

hassan@iraq-today.net       

Pierre Taillefer

Executive Editor

Agence France-Presse

pierre.taillefer@afp.com  

 

Senator John Warner           

Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee   

225 Russell Building           
Washington, DC 20510         
Fax: (202) 224-6295