The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requires any American acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make public disclosures of their relationship with the foreign principal – and the most recent FARA filing unveiled shows that the governor of the Iraqi province of Mosul has hired Chartwell Consultancy for the sum of $300,000 to “assist in reclaiming land from Islamic State.” The stated mission of the project is “reaching out to Congress and the executive branch “with the expressed purpose of securing the territory and people of the Republic of Iraq’s Ninavah Governorate.”
While one imagines this campaign will seek to urge America to fight the Islamic State (ISIS), it shows how much words matter. Hiring an American PR agency to fight ISIS – in an era where first lady Michelle Obama tweeted “Our prayers are with the missing Nigerian girls and their families,” and posted a photo of herself holding a piece of paper with the message “#BringBackOurGirls.”
One wonders when the Administration tweets rather than fights radical terrorists, what is justice all about?
The pendulum swings both ways: PR giant Burson-Marsteller is working for Ennahdha (Renaissance) Party, the Tunisian Branch of Muslim Brotherhood. Despite the fact that the head of the Enhadda Party – Sheikh Rachid al-Ghannouchi — has called for the murder of U.S. troops abroad, signed onto a 2004 fatwa endorsing the killing of U.S. troops in Iraq and has personally urged the Muslim world to “burn and destroy” U.S. interests across the globe, he recently spoke at Yale University, and some media chooses to portray him as “moderate.”
PR for terror is not a new phenomenon – NY PR Agency Brown Lloyd James secured a Vogue profile in February 2011 titled: “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert” — of course we know the aftermath of that tale. The same firm worked in the past to boost the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadaffi, and Fenton Communications has worked for Qatar to delegitimize Israel. While terrorism worldwide continues, there’s millions to be made on all sides of the communications battlefield.