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Posts Tagged ‘Kazakstan’

PR: Världens diktaturer spenderar alltmer pengar på politisk påverkan i Washington.

Och ju mer pengar diktaturer spenderar på att öka sitt inflytande bland lagstiftare och politiker desto svårare blir det för människorättsorganisationer att göra sin röst hörd.

Joshua Kurlantzick för Newsweek rapporterar:

The Republic of the Congo spent $1.5 million on lobbying and PR firms and other representation in the first half of 2009 alone […] Angola, one of the most corrupt nations in the world, spent more than $3 million in that period. Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the brutal dictator of African petrostate Equatorial Guinea, who took power more than three decades ago in a coup, has hired the law firm of former Bill Clinton aide Lanny Davis to lobby on his behalf, for the annual sum of $1 million. […] Chris Walker, of the NGO Freedom House, says this is all a reflection of the fact that “authoritarian regimes recognize there is a greater payoff in participating in and influencing the decision-making process, rather than sitting it out.” […]

Lobbying can turn down the pressure on authoritarian regimes. After years of intense lobbying, Equatorial Guinea’s Obiang managed to transform his image in Washington from a venal autocrat into a solid American ally and buddy of U.S. business. [T]he authoritarian regime in Kazakhstan won support for its chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe by hiring lobbyists to help quiet congressional critics of Kazakhstan’s human-rights record. Ethiopia’s lobbying, meanwhile, has helped to defuse charges that the government has turned increasingly authoritarian. In a memo sent to congressional offices, DLA Piper, representing Ethiopia, argued, “The terms ‘political prisoners’ and ‘prisoners of conscience’ are undefined and mischaracterize the situation in Ethiopia,” and should be removed from a bill that condemned the Ethiopian regime for detaining opposition activists. […]

Though there are rare exceptions, like the Tibetan government in exile, most human-rights activists in authoritarian countries cannot make the close connections in Washington, or come up with the funds needed to match the lobbying of leaders like Obiang. The result: while thugs get heard in Washington, the voices of their opponents remain silent.

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wash38_smallINFLYTANDE: Ken Silverstein, Washington redaktör för Harper´s Magazine, har nyligen utkommit med boken Turkmeniscam: How Washington Lobbyists Fought to Flack for a Stalinist Dictatorship.

I boken (en första version publicerades i tidskriften Harper´s) beskriver Silverstein hur han kontaktade en rad lobbyfirmer i Washington DC för att se om man ville jobba för stalinistdiktaturen Turkmenistan.

Silverstein låtsades representera en fiktiv London baserad investeringsgrupp med intressen i landet. Det visade sig inte vara speciellt svårt att få lobbyisterna att nappa på förslaget att förbättra diktaturens image och inflytande i USA.

Bland annat lobbyistfirmorna APCO och Cassidy & Associates visade stort intresse.

[E]ven the best-endowed regimes need help navigating the shoals of Washington and it is their great fortune that, for the right price, countless lobbyists are willing to steer even the foulest of ships.

Enligt Silverstein har amerikanska lobbyister arbetat för diktaturer åtminstone sedan 30-talet när PR experten Ivy Lee – via en firman German Dye Trust – hade kontrakt med nazistregimen i Berlin.

Bara för att nämna några få andra har Jefferson Waterman International jobbat för regimen i Burma och Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly hade på sin tid kontrakt med motståndsledaren Jonas Savimbi i Angola. Patton Boggs har jobbat för Kamerun och Carmen Group för Kazakstan osv. osv. (Kuriosa: Patton Boggs har även representerat Sverige.)

Även andra har använt sig av Wallraffande för att kunna skriva om lobbyfirmornas arbete för olika diktaturer. The Sunday Time gjorde nyligen detsamma med Stephen Payne, en lobbyist som tidigare jobbade för Bush administrationen.

En reporter på tidningen låtsades representera Kurdistans expresident och Payne föreslog bland annat;

Well, why don´t you make a donation to the Bush Library?

Enligt Silverstein är klimatet i maktens Washington DC helt annorlunda än i övriga delar av landet;

If you went to a cocktail party in many parts of the country and you talked about representing the government of Turkmenistan – ‘Yeah, well, this is what I do for a living. I get up in the morning, go to work and lobby for dictators’ – most people would find that that morally repugnant. But in Washington you talk about it without fear of embarrassment.

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