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Date:  Sun, 2 May 1999 19:49:57 +0900
From: Hendrik
To: Multiple recipients of NETSOURCE-L <netsource-l@mail.think.service>
Subject:  [NS] GUARDIAN (London): The finest spinmeister in the US camp ...

Clinton's prince of war

The finest spinmeister in the US camp is to run the media battle


GUARDIAN (London) Monday April 26, 1999

Nato spokesman Jamie Shea has been told to ditch his beige and
pale-coloured jackets, consign his more idiosyncratic ties to the back of
the cupboard and appear henceforth only in dark blue suits and sober

The Nato media makeover is going further and faster than anyone in Brussels
suspected. Number 10's Alastair Campbell confided yesterday that he will be
spending three days a week at Nato HQ getting the alliance 'on message'.

And landing in Britain this morning, on Tony Blair's plane, is the US
Seventh Cavalry in the form of Jonathan Prince, who will later today take
the Eurostar to Brussels to run the media operation "for as long as it

Prince is only just 30-something, looks like a Quentin Tarantino hero with
designer stubble and sleek black Italian clothes, and made his name as the
outstanding White House speechwriter of this decade.

He wrote the Biblical 'he that conspires against his own house shall
inherit the wind' words which Clinton delivered after the Oklahoma City
bombing of 1995, his most moving and powerful performance on American soil.
Prince also wrote the eulogy for Yitzhak Rabin which Clinton delivered in
Jerusalem. It took the magnificently apposite closing words of the Kaddish,
the Jewish prayer for the dead: 'He that brings peace to Israel brings
peace to all mankind.'

After his final speech of the 1996 campaign, Clinton came down from the
podium to hug Prince - a rare gesture from a president who is famed among
his staff for seldom thanking them for their efforts. Prince's deployment
to Nato HQ, as the star White House wordsmith, is the civilian equivalent
of the Pentagon sending in the elite 101st Airborne division.

Delicate issues are involved here for the 19-nation Nato alliance, where
not all members are comfortable with the Anglo-American domination of its
media presence. So on Saturday in Washington, Prince and Campbell sat down
with the top press officials of France's President Jacques Chirac and
Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroder to make sure this was going to be a
genuinely multi-national operation.

This had not been immediately obvious, after the media disaster of the air
strike on the refugee column, when Number 10 dispatched eight media staff
and the White House and State Department sent five to Brussels. But French,
German and Dutch staff will now be joining the Nato team, and Campbell will
this week be talking to Ankara to make sure there is also a Turkish voice
available on Jamie Shea's phone.

"We are not going to undermine Jamie Shea," Prince assured me, speaking as
if the cockney voice of Nato were an old much-loved brand which needed a
little marketing tweaking. "He's a real asset to Nato, trustworthy and
hugely-informed, speaks good French and German."

But since Shea has to write and edit the Nato secretary general's press
releases and speeches, as well as run the media front of the war, he is
overworked and under- resourced. One of the first things Cambpbell
established was a media monitoring service, so that the Nato spokesman
would know what was being broadcast and written in all the Nato countries,
as well as elsewhere.

Then Prince and Campbell set up a daily conference call with Shea, so that
he would know what the line of questioning had been at the national press
briefings and they could agree on a single and coherent message for each
day. Above all, they gave Shea the political clout he needed from White
House and Downing Sreet to bring Nato's military men on message.

"When the supreme commander, General Clark, flies to Albania as he is this
week, that has to be our story of the day, with places on the plane for
press and TV from every alliance country," Campbell suggested as an
example. "We got terrific coverage all across the alliance on Blair's visit
to Nato, so you'll be seeing President Chirac and Chancellor Schroder and
Holland's Wim Kok making similar trips."

Prince and Campbell know that the real challenge will be to come up with a
media strategy that can cope, day after day and week after week, with a
bombing campaign that has already become routine in terms of press coverage.

The air campaign against Iraq in the Gulf war took seven weeks before the
ground attack, and that was a far more intensive assault with no weather
problems. This one has at least six weeks to go before a ground option
becomes even feasible - 42 days and more of keeping the alliance on
message, interested, and above all supportive of the planned


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