Posts Tagged ‘John Stauber’

ASTROTURF: Tidskriften The Nation har avslöjat att Hamed Wardak, son till Afghanistans försvarsminister, anlitade Patton Boggs LLP för att genomföra en lobbykampanj med målet att plocka fram en kandidat som skulle kunna ersätta president Hamid Karzai.

Aram Roston skriver;

Earlier this year [d.v.s. 2009] Patton Boggs LLP, Washington’s most monied lobbying firm, established a nonprofit front group on Wardak’s behalf to act as the ”face” of a campaign for increased US engagement in Afghanistan, according to confidential legal records (…)

Hamed Wardak is listed as ”one of eight founders” of CUSAP… CUSAP’s chief message was a ten-point plan for Afghanistan, whose recommendations included ”strengthen and equip the Afghan National Army,” which is overseen by Wardak’s father (…)  

[T]the organization’s history reveals it to be a classic Astroturf operation. On January 30, 2009, ten days after Obama’s inauguration, Patton Boggs attorney Nicholas Allard wrote a memo to Wardak, copied to three other lawyers from his firm (…) In the memo Allard laid out a ”comprehensive plan” that would ”assist you in achieving your objective for Afghanistan” while meeting all legal and ethical standards. Patton Boggs would ”collect information about the new Administration’s emerging policy.” It would advocate a ”long-term U.S. strategy in Afghanistan that goes beyond military involvement.” Most controversial, the firm would ”launch a discreet campaign to find an alternative candidate to lead Afghanistan.” (…)

What was the ”first step” in achieving these aims? ”To establish an entity that will act as the ‘face’ of our campaign,” the memo said. ”This organization will be Patton Boggs’s client. We suggest creating an organization such as the ‘Campaign for a United Afghanistan’ or the ‘U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership.'” (…)

I shared the Patton Boggs language with John Stauber, founder of the Center for Media and Democracy and a critic of the lobbying industry. ”This is an explosive document,” he said, pointing out that such planning memos rarely see the light of day. ”This is classic PR subterfuge,” he said. ”It’s called the third party technique.” (…)

In this case Patton Boggs appears to have presented a lobby front group as a grassroots organization while the firm’s client stands to profit personally from extended US engagement in Afghanistan.

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