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Saudi covert PR campaign

Reader comment on item: The Saudis' Covert P.R. Campaign

Submitted by bruce schneider (United States), Aug 10, 2004 at 17:54

Retired State Department officials have commented, individually or collectively, on the Middle East situation. These former officials have generally been posted in Arab countries and tend to support the public positions of those countries, particularly Saudi Arabia. I believe that at least a few have some form of financial tie to those countries. While everyone should be free to express opinions, identification of a writer as a former government official lends weight to his/her views---that is, these views are presented as more than the opinions of the average citizen. Accordingly, I propose that all published letters by former government personnel include mandatory financial disclosure statements. This would be in keeping with the practice of many medical journals, in which physicians are required to submit a financial disclosure statement along with manuscripts that describe the effects of drugs. The financial disclosure need not be detailed (e.g., so and so has received speaking honoraria, research funding, consulting fees from ..., maintains a law office in ...., etc.).

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