A relatively forgettable pro-regime opinion piece relating to the Bahraini government, posted in the Washington Times in November, is coming under renewed scrutiny today after it was revealed that the article, penned by a former US 5th Fleet commander turned Lockheed Martin executive, was placed at the behest of a lobbying firm working for the Bahraini government itself.
In the article, Vice Admiral Charles W. Moore urged the US government to back the Bahraini government in its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, insisting that the Bahraini royal family was an irreplaceable ally and that allowing the protesters to make inroads would “harm American security.”
The Washington Times pointed out in the article placement that Moore is a top executive at Lockheed, a company involved in hundreds of millions of dollars in arms sales with the tiny island kingdom, but made no mention that the article’s placement was done at the behest of the Sanitas lobbying firm, which is registered as a foreign agent for the Bahraini government and is paid some $15,000 per month to lobby on the regime’s behalf.
After the article was placed, it was promoted by the Bahraini embassy and also run concurrently by the nation’s state media. The Washington Times editorial page editor, David Mastio, denied any wrongdoing, saying that they felt the information about Moore’s role in Lockheed and history as a commander of the 5th Fleet was sufficient to “inform” the readers. He also denied having any knowledge about Moore’s relationship with Sanitas, above and beyond the belated public disclosure that Sanitas pressed them to run his op-ed.