Omar and the teeth of the president

Iraqi bloggers: propaganda via blog trolling?

Advent with the "Good": Bush obviously in the best mood. Two wise men from the Orient came to visit the President, who, as is well known, receives his orders directly from the superpower, which is America – the only one in the world "second to none!"- God Himself, and expressed their gratitude for their deliverance by the rude man. The coalition was doing a good job, they said, and as far as security in Iraq was concerned, they felt safe. After the American president learned that one of the visitors was a dentist, he showed Omar the president’s white teeth and asked for a new filling. What kind of people are they who put the most powerful man in the world in such a party joking mood?? Iraqi bloggers!

Omar and Mohamed from Iraq met last week as "representatives of the blogosphere" key reprasentatives of the U.S. political, media, and blogging elite (et al. a. Bush, Wolfowitz, Wallstreet Journal, Jeff Jarvis). The two brothers, together with the third brother Ali, maintain the blog "IraqTheModel.com". They have been invited to the United States for a good cause, "Spirit of America", the "Champions for Freedom, Democracy and Peace", and to find benefactors to donate to the Arab Blogging Tool project.

The two Iraqis from Baghdad are said to be very engaging in person; fellow bloggers, such as "BuzzMachine" Jeff Jarvis report in the highest tones of this real-life-experience between people who otherwise only know each other from the blogosphere:

When I was in Washington yesterday, I met Omar and Mohamed, the blogging brothers behind IraqTheModel.com, and I can’t describe to you what a wonderful moment it was. It was magical, even miraculous. Because this would never have happened without the internet and the "citizens’ media".

Also Spencer Ackerman, author of the very government-critical Iraq blog "Iraq’d", which is regularly published in the conservative magazine "The New Republic" was taken by the enthusiasm of the two Iraqi brothers (which he himself does not share, by the way), who are committed to the elections in Iraq and have even founded a small party.

But the granted audience with George W. Bush and the general praise of the Iraqi model bloggers also provoked some critical spirits from the blogosphere: There was a phenomenon in the blogging world that could be described as "blog trolling" Blog-Trolling bezeichnen konnte, so beginnt ein Blog namens "Martini Republic" seine lesenswerten Anmerkungen zu den IraqThe Modell-Bloggern.

In the blogosphere, the practice of “blog trolling”— touting the “right” messengers with a mix of above-board, official recognition and below-board, ideology-based, sustained pump-priming, to generate a following for propagandistic messengers far beyond their natural level of interest—and to perchance achieve key mainstream media placement without normal media vetting—can “celebritize” a messenger or messengers, and help to turn bloggers into propagandists.

Blog Trolling is easy; minimal investment with minimal risk, it is only a matter of helping a blog by numerous links from prominent places to an importance, which it actually does not have – a simple telephone call of a "Ideologues" with a Key Blogger could give each blog a flood of "hits" and bring them to fame overnight. "IraqThe model" is an example of the influence of Blog trolling-Efforts. The coverage of the two bloggers clearly shows this; well-known "Rightwinger"-Bloggers had provided for prominence with hundreds of links on their website. The U.S. tour had been put in perspective with many disclosures in conservative publications. The two did not have to fear critical questions on their journey.

For this the "Martini Republic blogger" has a few in store: how they didn’t start blogging until six months after Baghdad was taken, and how they chose a company near Abilene, Texas, as their Internet service provider. At a time when the 490th Army Civil Reserve Unit, which is based in Abilene, Texas, was on duty in Baghdad? Who made the connection to the domain host in Texas?

CIA front thunderstorms

While the third brother, Ali, who remained in Iraq, responded in an initial response that he didn’t know anything about the host in Texas because he had posted the blog of his knowledge about "free blogger.com" other visitors to the "Martini Republic" ("lead, follow, or have a drink") with the non-unusual mixture of interesting backgrounds and high-flying speculations. In the comments to the posting of the "Martini Republic blog" some suggest that the CIA is pulling the strings here as elsewhere (not unlike the fantastic notions of an Iranian journalist whose inflammatory article landed Iranian bloggers in jail), while others point out that CIA is in this case for "Complex Internet Applications" could stand.

At least this is what is written in an email sent to the "UnFairWitness"- blogger from one Jeff Reed of "CIATechSolutions" some time ago. This blogger took down Iraqi blogger Zeyad some time ago from "Healingiraq" because he didn’t trust his information and thought there was some kind of "conspiracy" conspiracy – "Healingiraq" is similar to "IraqThe Model" rather sympathetic to the American occupation. In this context, Jeff Reed of CIATechSolutions contacted us by e-mail at "UnFairWitness" and pointed out that he has nothing to do with the US government and that the abbreviation CIA has a different meaning in his case. This is just a web hostingcompany that made it easier for some Iraqi bloggers to register with Blogspot.com.

Unfortunately, he could not verify the accuracy of Jeff Reed’s information, commented "UnfairWitness" the mail. He probably doesn’t have to, for most of the others who posted their comments it seems to be clear against all objections that the CIA has its fingers in the pie. "IraqTheModel" is clearly a "CIA front" there is. Evidence? It is obviously enough to position oneself on the right side and to see the occupation of the Americans from another point of view.

That it is obscene, given the chaotic situation in Iraq, the brutality of the war and the numerous victims of this arms race, to claim that one feels safe now, as the two model bloggers do – and in their comments pretend to speak for the country, is another thing.

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