2/25/2012

Western apologists and their PR ties

CHAN'AD  BAHRAINI 2.0
I've written before about the army of Western PR firms hired by the Bahraini regime, and its other PR efforts to whitewash its image. But those lists are far from exhaustive and constantly need to be updated as new firms on the Al Khalifa payroll are discovered. Do read Marc Owen Jones recent blog posts about the regime's continuous PR efforts.
In this post I'm going to continue in to the murky world of Bahrain's PR efforts. I will question the possibility that two prominent Western apologists for the Bahrain regime may have ties to firms on the Al Khalifa payroll. The first is former British military commander Lieutenant General Sir Graeme Lamb. The other is US Congressman Eni Faleomavaega.
Again, the evidence is far from conclusive, but raises enough questions to warrant further investigation.

Lt Gen Graeme Lamb


(Photo stolen from Steve Parsons/PA)
Lieutenant General Sir Graeme Lamb has had a distinguished career in the British Army, having served as the commander of the SAS and Commander Field Army, and held senior military positions in the Western military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
His name is all over the pages of the Gulf Daily News today, a pro-regime English language newspaper in Bahrain, as well as in the state-run news agency. This is because he expressed views in support of the position of the Al Khalifa regime at a conference taking place in Bahrain. He also expressed similar views in an opinion piece in the Times of London last August.
Of course, he has the right to hold this opinion if he wants. But this is where the questions come in.
Among his current occupations is serving as an adviser to a British investment company named C5 Capital. C5's website says it is "closely associated" with another British company named G3, which describes itself as an "independent strategic advisory firm". They are so closely associated that they share the same London address. In fact, some profiles of Lt Gen Lamb list him as an advisor to G3 itself. (Hat tip to @pilly_lilly)
Is some of this sounding familiar? Well that may be because G3 was one of the companies involved in the scandal that led to the resignation of former UK Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox last year. G3 had funded Fox's trips to Sri Lanka among other things.
According to the government of Bahrain's tender board website, in July 2011, the Information Affairs Authority (i.e. Ministry of Information) awarded a GBP 1.5 million (US$ 2.36M) contract to a British firm listed as "3G", for the purposes of a "media campaign to support Bahrain's position in the international community":



The only British PR firm named 3G that I can find online is one called "3G Communications", but it seems that this company specializes in working with infrastructure and development projects within the UK. And after making a phone call to their London office, they denied having any contracts with the IAA or Bahrain.
Could it be that the tender award listing is actually meant to refer to G3 Ltd that Lt Gen Lamb advises? This could be a totally misguided hunch, but certainly something that should be clarified.
As a side note, Lt Gen Lamb also serves as a non-executive director for a private security company named Aegis. The company has one of its five global offices located in Bahrain, and in March 2011 evacuated the staff of a multi-national energy company from Bahrain due to the political unrest for a contract worth "c £100,000k".