Rendon Group

Rendon Group

The Rendon Group is a public relations firm headed by John Rendon which specializes in providing communications services both nationally and internationally. [ [ CEO: John Rendon] .]

In a 1998 speech to the National Security Conference (NSC), company founder John Rendon described himself as "an information warrior, and a perception manager."Fact|date=January 2007

"Through its network of international offices and strategic alliances," the Rendon Group website stated in 2002, "the company has provided communications services to clients in more than 78 countries, and maintains contact with government officials, decision-makers, and news media around the globe." In an article in "Rolling Stone", James Bamford cites his interview with John Rendon, who said the company had worked in 91 countries. The Rendon Group has responded to the article in a letter posted on its website. [Rendon Group, " [ Response to Rolling Stone Article] ," Rendon Group website, November 17, 2005.]


John Rendon began his career as an election campaign consultant to Democratic Party politicians. According to Franklin Foer, "He masterminded Michael Dukakis's gubernatorial campaign in 1974; worked as executive director of the Democratic National Committee in the Jimmy Carter era; managed the 1980 Democratic convention in New York; and subsequently worked as chief scheduler for Carter's reelection campaign." In the mid-1980s, however, he began working for clients in the Caribbean and other places outside the United States. " [His] career took an unlikely turn in Panama, where his work with political opponents of Manuel Noriega kept him in the country straight through the 1989 American invasion. As U.S. forces quickly invaded and quickly pulled out, he helped broker the transition of power." This in turn led to contacts with the CIA, and in 1990 the government-in-exile of Kuwait hired him to help drum up support for war in the Persian Gulf to oust Iraq's occupying army. [] ]

The Rendon Group and Kuwait

According to Rendon's web site, it "established a full-scale communications operation for the Government of Kuwait, including the establishment of a production studio in London producing programming material for the exiled Kuwaiti Television." Rendon also provided media support for exiled government leaders and helped Kuwaiti officials after the war by "providing press and site advance to incoming congressional delegations and other visiting US government officials."

Rendon's work in Kuwait continued after the war itself had ended. "If any of you either participated in the liberation of Kuwait City ... or if you watched it on television, you would have seen hundreds of Kuwaitis waving small American flags," John Rendon said in his speech to the NSC. "Did you ever stop to wonder how the people of Kuwait City, after being held hostage for seven long and painful months, were able to get hand-held American flags? And for that matter, the flags of other coalition countries? Well, you now know the answer. That was one of my jobs."

Anti-Saddam propaganda

Rendon was also a major player in the CIA's effort to encourage the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.Facts|date=February 2007 In May 1991, then-President George H. W. Bush signed a presidential finding directing the CIA to create the conditions for Hussein's removal.Facts|date=February 2007 The hope was that members of the Iraqi military would turn on Hussein and stage a military coup.Facts|date=February 2007 The CIA did not have the mechanisms in place to make that happen, so they hired the Rendon Group to run a covert anti-Saddam propaganda campaign.Facts|date=February 2007 Rendon's postwar work involved producing videos and radio skits ridiculing Saddam Hussein, a traveling photo exhibit of Iraqi atrocities, and radio scripts calling on Iraqi army officers to defect.Facts|date=February 2007

A February 1998 report by Peter Jennings cited records obtained by ABC News which showed that the Rendon Group spent more than $23 million dollars in the first year of its contract with the CIA.{ [facts It set up the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an opposition coalition of 19 Iraqi and Kurdish organizations whose main tasks were to "gather information, distribute propaganda and recruit dissidents." Journalist James Bamford reports that Rendon came up with the name for the INC and helped install Ahmad Chalabi as its head.Facts|date=February 2007 In addition, ABC reports that Rendon channeled $12 million of covert CIA funding to the INC between 1992 and 1996. Writing in the "New Yorker", Seymour Hersh says the Rendon Group was "paid close to a hundred million dollars by the CIA" for its work with the INC. [ [ Annals of National Security: The Debate Within: The New Yorker ] ], a website which monitors underground and anti-government radio stations in countries throughout the world, credits the Rendon Group with "designing and supervising" the Iraqi Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) and Radio Hurriah, which began broadcasting Iraqi opposition propaganda in January 1992 from a US government transmitter in Kuwait. According to a September 1996 article in "Time" magazine, six CIA case officers supervised the IBC's 11 hours of daily programming and Iraqi National Congress activities in the Iraqi Kurdistan city of Arbil. According to a Harvard graduate student from Iraq who helped translate some of the radio broadcasts into Arabic, the program was poorly run. "No one in-house spoke a word of Arabic," he says. "They thought I was mocking Saddam, but for all they knew I could have been lambasting the US government." The scripts, he adds, were often ill conceived. "Who in Iraq is going to think it's funny to poke fun at Saddam's mustache," the student notes, "when the vast majority of Iraqi men themselves have mustaches?" [ [ Asia Times ] ] In any case, the propaganda campaign came to an abrupt end on August 31, 1996, when the Iraqi army invaded Arbil and executed all but 12 out of 100 IBC staff workers along with about 100 members of the Iraqi National Congress.

Franklin Foer reports that Rendon has been dogged throughout his career "by complaints of profligate spending--even charged with being the PR equivalent of the Pentagon's $400 toilet seat. In 1995 CIA accountants demanded an audit of his work. As ABC reported in 1998, Rendon's own records show he spent more than $23 million in the first year of his contract to work with the INC. Several of his operatives in London earned more than the director of Central Intelligence--about $19,000 per month. Rendon shot across the Atlantic on the Concorde, while his subordinates flew on open business-class tickets. According to one of those subordinates, 'There was no incentive for Rendon to hold down costs.'" Others have complained that his work is often inept and ineffective. However, he continues to win contracts because he is "superbly networked" with friends in high places in Washington.

Publics relations work in the war on terror

The "San Jose Mercury News" reported in October 2001 that the Pentagon had awarded Rendon a four-month, $397,000 contract to handle PR aspects of U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan. Rendon and Pentagon officials declined to discuss details of the firm's work, which included monitoring international news media, conducting focus groups and recommending "ways the US military can counter disinformation and improve its own public communications." All of which can be found in public Contracts between The Rendon Group and the Department of Defense.

The "New York Times" reported in February 2002 that the Pentagon was using the Rendon Group to assist its new propaganda agency, the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI) Of which it only consulted The Rendon Group. However, the OSI was publicly disbanded following a backlash when Pentagon officials said the new office would engage in "black" propaganda (disinformation) of which The Rendon Group was not part. [ [ Pentagon Readies Efforts to Sway Sentiment Abroad ] ] [ [ New Agency Will Not Lie, Top Pentagon Officials Say ] ]

In December, 2005, the "Chicago Tribune" reported that the Rendon Group in 2004 received $1.4 million to help Afghan President Hamid Karzai with media relations. According to the paper, after seven months Karzai and Zalmay Khalilzad, then the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, were ready to get rid of the company. Despite the lack of support from Karzai and the ambassador, the company received another $3.9 million for anti-drug programs from the State Department and not the department of Defense. The paper quoted Jeff Raleigh, who helped oversee Rendon in Kabul for the U.S. Embassy, as saying the contract was "a rip-off of the U.S taxpayer". Later Jeff Raleigh's Afghan supervisor said Jeff wanted full control of The Rendon Group and was out of his bound. Furthermore the same official, Ambassador Daod, in a signed letter said that The Rendon Group did a great job and really helped his office. [ [,1,2221449,print.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true Topic Galleries - ] ]


*John Rendon, founder and CEO.
*Linda Flohr, a CIA covert operations veteran, worked for the Rendon Group at one point before returning to the government, where she is now a top anti-terrorism official at the U.S. National Security Council
*Francis Brooke worked in the mid-1990s on the Rendon Group's anti-Iraq campaign in London at a salary of $19,000 a month. He subsequently became the chief assistant in Washington to Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress
*Paul Moran (1963 - 2003) was a journalist who had formerly worked for both the Iraqi National Congress and the Rendon Group.


Clients of the Rendon Group have included a number of foreign nations, as well as major corporations. Clients have included:Facts|date=February 2007

*American Housing Consortium (based in Kuwait)
*American Business Council of Kuwait
*Colombian army
*KPMY/Peat Marwick
*Kuwait Petroleum Corporation
*Kuwait University
*Leonard P. Zakim
*Monsanto Chemical Company
*United States
*United States for International Development (USAID)
*Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
*The Pentagon
*Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (which it helped promote a ban on landmines)
*White House Iraq Group

* Alpura: Ganaderos Productores De Leche PuraTRG created a detailed and multi-faceted crisis communications plan for ALPURA, the leading producer of dairy products in Mexico. The program included development and extensive use of crisis planning scenarios that provided ALPURA senior leadership and staff with in-depth media-performance and crisis training.
* American Express, Bahrain
* Argentina Televisora Color (ATC)
* Antigua & Barbuda, Government of Aruba
* Balkan Information ExchangeFor the Joint Staff and the US European Command (EUCOM), TRG developed and maintained the Balkan Information Exchange, a news and information Web site focused on issues and events in Eastern Europe. The Web site reflected a wide range of international open-source information on the region and was published in six languages. TRG also deployed a three-person team to Kosovo to gather content, especially photographs, for the site.
* Bell Atlantic International, Indonesia
* Bosnia and Herzegovina PrivatizationTRG designed and implemented an information mapping project as part of the public education program in support of privatization in Bosnia and Herzegovina. TRG identified the range of sources of information available to privatization stakeholders and the general public and how these information outlets were perceived in the marketplace, when and how these outlets delivered information, and who received information from individual sources and how the sources were motivated or contaminated.
*Bull HN Information Systems
* Bustamente Institute, Jamaica
* Centre for International Projects, Prague
* Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
* George Washington UniversityTRG designed, marketed, and managed a five-part conference series on Post-Privatization Management in the global telecommunications, electric power, oil and gas, banking and finance, and transportation sectors. In cooperation with the White House, TRG helped the university conduct two additional aviation-related conferences attended by international public aviation authorities and officials.
* Gulf Business Machines, Bahrain
* Haiti, Government of
* Industrial Center of Argentine
* Kuwait, Government ofTRG played an integral part in maintaining the global coalition that liberated Kuwait by designing and implementing a campaign to deliver messages to key international media and governmental decision-makers worldwide. Within days of the 1990 invasion and during the course of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, TRG placed teams of crisis management personnel in the Middle East, North America and Europe. TRG personnel were among the first U.S. civilians to enter Kuwait after its liberation by allied forces, and continued to provide assistance for many months after the country achieved freedom.
* Kuwait Petroleum Corporation
* Kuwait Petroleum Italy
* Kuwait University
* Liberal Party of Quebec
* Marshall Legacy SymposiumThe Rendon Group provided media relations for the 50th Anniversary of the Marshall Plan Symposium hosted by The White House and George Washington University. Leaders from 21 former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern European countries met with senior elected and appointed officials of the United States government.
* Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
* National Education Association
* National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)TRG provided strategic consultation and video production services to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as the agency prepared to deliver its final report regarding the investigation into the crash of TWA Flight 800. TRG worked closely with NTSB investigators to videotape spokespersons at the reconstructed model of TWA Flight 800 in its hangar on Long Island, N.Y. TRG edited new video footage with official animation and existing videotape shot following the accident to create a program that explained the Flight 800 accident in detail.
* Netherlands Antilles, Government of
* Panama, Government ofTRG was retained by the democratic Panamanian opposition coalition, Alianza Democratica de la Oposicion Civilista (ADO-Civilista), to design and implement a strategic and tactical communications plan for the May 1989 elections. When the Noriega government nullified ADO-Civilista election victory, TRG continued to support the Party's ongoing effort to establish a democratic government in Panama. TRG helped ADO Civilista leaders deliver a forceful and consistent message to the Panamanian public and restore confidence in the new government as it assumed office after the arrest of General Noriega.
* Pharmaceutical Laboratories (CILFA)
* Sari Pan Pacific Hotel, Jakarta
* St. Lucia Labour Party
* Toyota, Saudi Arabia
* United Nations
* U.S. Department of Defense
* U.S. Air force - Air Intelligence AgencyTRG conducted an in-depth study of the agency's internal and external communications activities. TRG reviewed current and potential future agency-customer and agency-supplier relationships, and outlined options for improving the agency's strategic communication activities. The study included a review of agency communications materials, executive interviews with senior officials and recipients of agency communications, and other critical research.
* U.S. Army
* U.S. Strategic Command
* U.S. Trade & Development Agency
* The White House-President's Council on Year 2000 ConversionTRG helped Council Chairman John A. Koskinen, and his staff plan, and implement a nationwide public education effort regarding the potential threats associated with the Y2K rollover. By the end of the year 1999, more than 350 Y2K community education events had been conducted in all 50 states, encompassing 210 media markets.
* World Energy Conference, Montreal
* Zambia Privatization AgencyTRG dispatched a senior communications team to Zambia to work with the Zambia Privatization Agency (ZPA) and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services (MIBS) officials to gauge public perceptions on privatization and design a communications program to improve the public climate for the country's privatization program.
* Zambia, Southern University



*Bamford, James. " [ The Man Who Sold The War:] Meet John Rendon, Bush's General in the Propaganda War." "Rolling Stone" November 17, 2005. Accessed January 26, 2007. [Winner of 2006 National Magazine Award in the category of "Reporting."]
*Brand, Stewart. [ "John Rendon: 'Long-term Policy to Make the War on Terror Short.'"] Report on talk presented by John Rendon at the Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, California. July 14, 2005. Information posted or re-posted by user "bkeating" in The Long Now Foundation (message board). July, 2005. Incl. text and link to audio download.
*Chatterjee, Pratap. [ "Rendon" wins hearts & minds in business, politics & war] , "CorpWatch", August 4, 2004.
*Foer, Franklin. [ "Flacks Americana: John Rendon's Shallow PR War on Terrorism] ," "The New Republic" May 20, 2002.
*Goodman, Amy " [ The Man Who Sold the Iraq War] ." "Democracy Now" November 21, 2005.
*Hedges, Stephen J. " [ "U.S. Pays PR Guru to Make Its Points."] "Chicago Tribune" May 12, 2002.
*Miller, Laura, and Sheldon Rampton. " [ The Pentagon's Information Warrior: Rendon to the Rescue] ," "PR Watch" 8.1 (Fourth Quarter 2001).
*The Rendon Group. " [ Response to Rolling Stone Article] ." Online posting. "The Rendon Group" November 17, 2005. Accessed January 26, 2007.
*Stein, Jeff. " [ When Things Turn Weird, the Weird Turn Pro] ." "" February 27, 2002.

External links

* [ Rendon Group] Official firm website.

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