February 08, 2007



Immediately after the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, Aruba was besieged by print media and television reporters from the U.S. and other countries. They all had the same goal, to obtain any and all information about the pretty teen from Alabama who went missing while on her graduation trip in May of 2005.

The Prime Minister of Aruba realized the media’s frenzy for information and pictures. He expressed great concern over the short and long term effects on Aruba. First and foremost, his interest was in preserving Aruba’s reputation so that it’s tourism would not suffer. It certainly was not Natalee’s whereabouts nor her fate on which he was focused. This was illustrated when he recently stated, “any reporter or media that keeps the story alive in reference to Natalee was a traitor to Aruba.” This was a selfish, cruel, heartless thing to say but his allegiance was in protecting the Island of Aruba.

Robert DiLella and Stephen Cohen through their company, SMDG, specialize in offering services to political candidates, corporations, governments, and high profile individuals. The marketing specialty of political “attack” campaigns is a signature characteristic of SMDG. These are televised and published advertisements attacking other candidates that invariably pop up during elections. Also and otherwise known as “smear campaigns.” According to their website, SMDG offers a unique, action oriented crisis management consultancy.

In June of 2005, Robert DiLella and Stephen Cohen met with the Aruba Tourism Hotel Authority (ATHA) and the Aruban Tourism Authority (ATA) in order to create the Strategic Communications Task Force (SCTF). SCTF’s mission was to control the media coverage of the Natalee Holloway case. Members of the Steering Committee for this Task Force included many of the Island’s most influential people who were all heavily invested in Government or tourism. This fact goes a long way toward tying up loose ends in relevance to the dissemination of information in Natalee’s case and the attack on the media.

DiLella and Cohen went to work immediately taking action in their efforts to restrain the media wildfire that had besieged Aruba. First, they decided to drastically increase the fee charged to news organizations for using Aruba’s satellite uplink facilities. Secondly, a decision was made and acted upon to place stringent restrictions on the flow of media equipment coming into the island airport. The idea was to control all the electronic equipment belonging to foreign media representatives and journalists.

In controlling the flow of electronic equipment, the operators would have less to work with, making it harder and in some cases impossible to report Natalee’s story. The plot to stop access to media equipment caused havoc and delay and resulted in success for SDMG. There was a noticeable decrease in journalists and media passing through the airport gates. After all, how could you report a story without your equipment? Journalists and media representatives were watched by ALE and others. At one point, an arrest warrant was issued for the very well known US FOX Television Reporter, Greta Van Susteren.

In hindsight, it is clear this plan was implemented to minimize the journalistic and media coverage of Natalee’s case. Crisis management was in full force and control on the Island of Aruba. The Natalee Holloway raging wildfire was soon to be reduced to a smolder.

SMDG’s campaign to propagate misinformation existed with the Natalee Holloway case from almost the beginning. The world watching the search for Natalee had not a clue as to what was going on until many months later when the collateral damage was realized as a result of the decision to disregard justice and protect tourism.

Tourism is the main pillar of the Aruban economy according to the Aruba Tourism Authority. The whereabouts or well being of “just one missing girl” who had visited the island to them was not a priority. What should it matter about “just one” girl? “Tourists come to the island everyday,” “maybe she ran away.” Sound familiar? More examples of the Aruban P.R. campaign to weaken Natalee’s case along with concern for her.

On August 4, 2005, George “Jug” Twitty sent a letter to Alabama Governor Bob Riley asking him not to continue with plans to introduce a resolution to boycott travel to Aruba. Jug Twitty sent a carbon copy of his letter to DiLella. Twitty must have realized the weight carried by DiLella’s firm.

He also recognized the misinformation campaign that had begun and the interference it was introducing in the search for information about Natalee’s disappearance. Jug is a smart man who very soon into Natalee’s disappearance apparently realized the dissemination of information and its source. He also realized that no one was ever going to get anywhere with the Aruban Government. They were not willing to be honest about documents and information concerning Natalee and he knew this.

Dave Holloway, Natalee’s father, dealt with Aruba one day at a time with the dissemination of information he was given. When he was asked, “How much money do you have,” it shocked him that Aruban Law Enforcement (ALE) would ask him such a question. To him, this question indicated it would take money to buy information in reference to his daughter’s disappearance. Was Aruban law enforcement basically indicating that if her father wanted her back or to obtain information as to her whereabouts, it would depend on how much money he had?

In presenting the facts, one can draw their on conclusions of relevance.

To be continued in Part IV

See additional information at the TFN Site


donald said...

The systematic dissemination of misinformation IS a crime in the USA. A foreign nation who enters into a contract with a US Company to perpetuate such criminality IS culpable.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Aruba!

How awful! Poor Natalee :(

Great research T4N!

Anonymous said...

Joran was the shooter on the grassy nole!

Michelle said...

If you INSIST on being an idiot, at least spell KNOLL right.

Nole = Troll

Goodbye...no more soup for you.