mandag 8. mars 2021

Myanmar military hires PR agent to explain 'real situation' to west

Accused of crimes against humanity, an illegal government takeover and gunning down protesters, Myanmar’s military is seeking to rebrand itself in foreign capitals, recruiting a former Israeli military intelligence official turned lobbyist with a record defending controversial clients.

Ari Ben-Menashe, a Tehran-born, Israeli-Canadian lobbyist, was hired by the Tatmadaw this week to “assist in explaining the real situation in the country”, according to a consultancy agreement reported by Foreign Lobby, an outlet that tracks foreign government influence operations in Washington. In a decades-long career rarely out of the headlines, Ben-Menashe, a former arms dealer, has worked for the longtime Zimbabwean ruler Robert Mugabe, Sudan’s military junta and presidential candidates in Venezuela, Tunisia and Kyrgyzstan, among others.

He confirmed the agreement in media interviews, claiming he is being paid “a big amount” and will receive a bonus if military sanctions against Myanmar military leaders are lifted.