Spirit of America

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Spirit of America Worldwide (SoA) was launched Spring 2003 by California computer guru Jim Hake. [1] SoA operated "under the auspices" of the Cyber Century Forum (web)—"a group dedicated to spreading US influence worldwide, with a particular emphasis on covert cyber-intelligence measures"[2]—from August 2003 to November 2004, "before receiving 501(c)(3) status." [3]

SoA is a "nonprofit supported solely through private-sector contributions" which does not "receive funding from the government or military," its website states. Donations are 100% tax-deductible.

"Spirit of America's mission is to extend the goodwill of the American people to assist those advancing freedom" and to "provide support to those on the front lines: American military and civilian personnel and people who call to Americans for help in their struggle for freedom," its website states.

Initially, Spirit of America's "infrastructure" was "financed by Hake from funds from the sale of Global Information Infrastructure, a business that produced Internet content for businesses in the Internet's early days," the Stanford Business Magazine reported in May 2004. "Using the Internet now, Hake matches requests that come mostly from military personnel with Americans willing to donate cash or supplies."


Controversy

Front Group?

Hake's Spirit Of America group has been accused by a blogger of being a front for CIA PsyOps in the Middle East. [4] Hake was closely involved with the Fadhil brothers at the Iraq The Model blog and brought two of them to Washington in November 2004, where they met with President George W. Bush and Paul Wolfowitz in the Oval Office. A third Fadhil brother (now blogging at Free Iraqi) later accused Hake of using the Fadhil's for political purposes and with-holding funds pledged for social work in Iraq. Spirit of America provided information in reply to these charges here and here.

Cyber Century Forum and the CSIS conservative think tank

The Cyber Century Forum (CCF), Gandhi of Bush Out blog wrote December 20, 2004, "are old guard warhorses from the Cold War, people who were probably hiding under the desk with Cheney and Rumsfeld when the post-Nixon Church Commission started exposing the dark side of US foreign policy."

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) plays a pivotal role in the Spirit of America scenario, with two of the three members affiliated with it: Currently a CSIS senior advisor, Gandhi wrote, is Diana Lady Dougan, "who rose to Assistant Secretary of State from 1982 to 1988 in the Reagan administration, is the public face of CCF, flittering from one top-level international chat-fest to another."

According to CCF's website, Gandhi wrote in December 2004, G. Russell Pipe, like Dougan, is "a member of the CSIS". Pipe was then "deputy director of the Global Information Infrastructure Commission (GIIC) (web), 'a nongovernmental initiative to provide a framework to bridge gaps between the private and public sector for the development of information infrastructure'."

Note that, in December 2006, GIIC's website no longer shows Pipe as a commission member. The Honorable Diana Lady Dougan, Chair of CSIS's International Communications Studies Program, is. [5]

The third CCF member identified on the website is vice president and general counsel Tedson J. Meyers, who, Gandhi wrote, "was a neo-conservative before they even invented the term ... Meyers was Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the days when the FCC had a lot of power and influence. He was appointed to the non-elected Washington D.C. City Council by President Richard M. Nixon in 1972."

Cyber Century Forum and oil money

"Cyber Century Forum's tax return for 2003 shows that it holds $109,440 in corporate stocks from Schlumberger Ltd (web), 'the leading oilfield services technology company supplying technology, project management and information solutions to the oil and gas industries'," Gandhi of the Bush Out Blogspot wrote January 24, 2005. "It also holds a further US$9,292 in stocks from Transocean Sedco Forex (web), the world's largest offshore drilling company. Now isn't that a big surprise? 'Freedom and Democracy for Iraq', sponsored by the US oil and gas industry."

"Schlumberger provide[d] over 90% of the financial support for Spirit of America's parent company, Cyber Century Forum. The rest is provided by Transocean Sedco Forex, the world's largest offshore drilling company," Gandhi wrote December 16, 2004.

"Again, the question is why? Where did these stocks come from? What is their purpose? Are corporate oil industry interests behind the motives of Cyber Century Forum? Does that explain their interest in Spirit of America, and hence Iraq The Model?", Gandhi asked in January 2005.

"Grassroots" Marketing Campaign

"Interestingly, Spirit of America is a client of a 'grassroots marketing' organization called Direct Impact," which is a subsidiary of Burson-Marsteller. "Grassroots marketing involves creating a 'buzz' by getting seemingly ordinary people (or better yet, influential people) to promote a product by word-of-mouth. It is often criticized because the targeted people do not realize that what they are hearing is advertising, not genuine opinion," Gandhi of the Bush Out Blogspot wrote January 24, 2005. "Now why would a US charity working in Iraq want to sign up for such a US-based marketing campaign?" Gandhi asked.

Blogging for Lebanese Independence and the 'countdown to freedom'

In April 2005, Business Wire reported that "Spirit of America blogger Michael Totten is on the ground on Martyrs' Square in Beirut, Lebanon. The blog will share the local perspective and help launch Spirit of America's project fund committed to assisting the people of Lebanon win independence."

On April 18, 2005, Jacki Michael, CNN blog reporter, reported that Totten and Hake had "created a website called Spirit -- actually a blog on Spirit of America -- to start blogging over in Lebanon. And they have a ton of photos, they did a bunch of photo blogging. They just added a video blog. They also -- at the last post talks about how they helped the people at Freedom City, which is a tent city which is at the center of the Cedar Revolution, set up a website called Pulse of Freedom so they can keep you updated. ... by April 29th, they want a public demonstration of when the elections are going to be. That would be one month before the final deadline for the election which is May 29th. So you can go to that website, pulseoffreedom05.org, every day to find out what they are doing to help the cause of the revolution in Lebanon."

On November 18, 2005, Trish Schuh wrote in CounterPunch that Spirit of America had "provided protesters with a billboard-sized electronic 'Freedom Clock' for 'Freedom Square' to 'countdown to freedom.' Spirit of America's tax deductible donations helped maintain the tent city's food, shelter and other basic necessities 'so that the demonstrators can keep pressure on for political change and world attention on the struggle for Lebanese independence'. Spirit of America also spawned a plethora of revolution bloggers, foremost among them Tech Central Station columnist Michael Totten whose boss was Spirit of America's founder Jim Hake.

"A registered charity, Spirit of America exemplifies the regime change industry. Advised by US Ambassador Mark Palmer, Vice Chairman of the Board of Freedom House, and co-founder of the National Endowment for Democracy, Palmer served as speech-writer to three US Presidents and six Secretaries of State. He also helped the US government destabilize Slobodan Milosevic and Muammar Qaddafi. Capitalizing on his color revolution skills, Palmer wrote 'Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators Without Firing a Shot.'

"Another Spirit of America governor is Lt General Mike DeLong, Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. DeLong manages a budget of $8.2 billion and 'conceived and implemented the Global War on Terrorism, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.' As top Deputy to former General Tommy Franks, DeLong's listed expertise at places such as the Army War College, the Department of Defense and the Amphibious Warfare School included Artillery, military intelligence, coup détats, supporting democracy. DeLong in his autobiography Inside Centcom alleged 'Syria had been shipping military supplies, including night vision goggles to Iraq.' The New York Times and Washington Post later revealed that these data had been fabricated 'smoking gun' evidence," Schuh wrote.

Programs

  • Friends of Democracy Project announced Fall 2004. [6]
  • America-Iraq School Partners Program pilot launched in April 2005.
  • Support for Lebanon’s independence (2005).
  • Blogging:

People (2012)

Accessed May 2012: [1]

Staff

Board of Directors

Advisory Board

Personnel

Whos Who (January 2004)

Accessed February 2010: [2]

In January 2005 Brandon Grove was replaced by Ambassador Mark Palmer. [14] In addition to this lineup, by January 2006 Senator John McCain and General Tommy Franks were Honorary Co-Chairs. [15]. This lineup was the same in October 2007. [16]

Whos Who (2010)

Accessed February 2010: [3]

Whos Who (2011)

Accessed January 2011: [4]

  • Jim Hake - Founder & CEO, Board Member
  • Dr. Peter Ackerman - Board Member
  • Don Karl - Board Member
  • Senator John McCain - Honorary Co-Chair
  • Kimberly Kagan - Member, Advisory Board
  • General Jack Keane U.S. Army (retired) - Member, Advisory Board
  • Nicco Mele - Member, Advisory Board
  • John Nagl - Member, Advisory Board
  • Ambassador Mark Palmer - Member, Advisory Board
  • George P. Shultz - Member, Advisory Board

Domain Names and Websites

Spirit of America .net

The SPIRITOFAMERICA.NET domain name was created September 13, 2001, by domaindiscover.com.

According to NetworkSolutions (conduct search):

  • The domain is registered to Spirit of America, 12021 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 558, Los Angeles, CA 90025. The administrative and technical contact is Peggy Findley.
  • DMOZ Details for the website state "U.S. Army Special Forces request shoes, clothes and tools for villagers in remote Afghanistan."
  • The Yahoo! Y!Directory reads "Helping Americans serving abroad to assist people in need by increasing the reach, scale, and impact of the informal humanitarian activities that take place on the front lines in troubled regions." [17]

Friends of Democracy .net

The FRIENDSOFDEMOCRACY.NET domain name was created October 12, 2004, by directNIC.com, Intercosmos Media Group, Inc..

According to NetworkSolutions (conduct search), the domain is registered to Santa Monica Farms, One in Santa Monica, Santa Monica, CA 90405, Phone 310 765-4796/FAX 310 765-4796.

Note that a Google search for Santa Monica Farms at One in Santa Monica found zero matches. The only Santa Monica Farms listed in Santa Monica is a produce market store at 2015 Main Street. Likewise, a Google search for the phone number 310 765-4796 found zero matches.

Friends of Democracy .info

The FRIENDSOFDEMOCRACY.INFO domain name, sponsored by Intercosmos Media Group, Inc. and registered to the Friends of Democracy in Baghdad, Iraq, was created January 12, 2005. The site administrator's name is given as Ihsan Ad.

A Google search for "Ihsan Ad", Baghdad, found zero matches. Likewise, a Google search for "Ihsan Ad" + "Friends of Democracy" found zero matches.

Contact Details

Spirit of America
12021 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 558
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: 310 481-9123
Phone: 800 691-2209 (donations only)
FAX: 310 356-6015
E-mail: staff AT spiritofamerica.net
Website: http://www.spiritofamerica.net/site
Website: http://www.friendsofdemocracy.info/ (English)
Website: http://www.friendsofdemocracy.net/ (Arabic) (inactive December 18, 2006)

External links

General

Articles & Commentary

2004

2005

2006

2011

Notes

There does not appear to be any connection between Spirit of America and former attorney general John Ashcroft's Spirit of America PAC (political action committee); the Spirit of America Corp. (web); the non-profit Spirit of America Tour (a project of the non-profit Rosenthal Foundation); or United Way's Spirit of America Award.

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch

References

  1. Spirit of America Team, organizational web page, accessed May 7, 2012.
  2. Leadership, Spirit of America (archived page), accessed February 23, 2010.
  3. Whos Who, Spirit of America, accessed February 23, 2010.
  4. Whos Who, Spirit of America, accessed January 14, 2011.