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  • Joseph


    The Clintons, The High Priest and Conflicting Interests

    Posted December 18, 2007 | 11:42 AM (EST)

    While he was in China in the past summer to meet with potential clients, he allegedly met with individuals from the Turkish government. The meeting was about an upcoming bill in the U.S. House that would have called on President Bush to declare that the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks after World War I constituted genocide. The Turkish government was adamantly against the bill and had already hired multiple American lobbying groups to lobby the Congress against the bill. Following the meeting, he called his firm back in Washington DC to asked them to begin writing a preliminary proposal to pitch an offer to the Turkish government to lobby the Congress to kill the genocide bill. The name of his company was Burson-Marsteller - the 5th largest PR and lobbying firm on earth - and he was its worldwide president and CEO. His name is Mark Penn, and he is now serving as Hillary Clinton's top political strategist.


    Senator Clinton is the only top tier candidate on the democratic side who openly receives money from lobbyists for her campaign. While many seem outraged about this fact, most people are not aware of the extent of influence and history of relationships and dealings between the Clintons and lobbyists, and the inevitability of their continued influence in policymaking should Hillary become president.

    It is important to briefly review how Penn rose to his current position. After the democrats lost the House and Senate in 1994, Hillary asked Bill to bring in xxxx Morris, a controversial friend from their time in Arkansas, to help repair Bill's image. Morris knew Mark Penn from when he was a pollster in New York and brought him to the White House to help with the effort. They pushed the Clintons to the right and caused the origination of the term "triangulation," the idea of strategically adopting certain aspects of your opponent's position on issues, not necessarily because of the merits of those policies but in order to immune oneself from criticism on that particular issue. But Morris's career was cut short after he let a prostitute, Sherry Rowlands, listen in on a conversation with the President. That left Penn as "the high priest," as the Washington Post called him, in a White House where triangulation and polling had become a religion. Following the Clinton presidency, Penn also became the architect of Hillary Clinton's victories in 2000 and 2006, receiving $1 million from Hillary for the latter service.

    But Penn's involvement in Hillary's campaign is inconsistent with the party's stated mission. He has been intimately involved in running or lobbying for big corporations on issues that are directly contrary to the interest of consumers and average Americans throughout his life. Before he came to the White House in the 90s, he worked for Texaco - a major oil company - and Eli Lilly, which is a major pharmaceutical firm.

    After moving to DC, he worked both at the White House and also continued to expand his own polling firm, Penn, Schoen and Berland (PSB), which served Microsoft as its biggest client. During his time at PSB, Mark Penn has tuned out any sense of integrity and care for the wellbeing of the general public from the process of deciding whose interests to serve. Public welfare is naturally irrelevant to what he does and why he does it. His firm defended Proctor and Gamble when the latter's fat substitute product, Olestra, was criticized for having disturbing side-effects and put the blame for Texaco's bankruptcy on the greed of jurors.

    Throughout the past seven years, Mark Penn has continued to keep one foot in his corporate lobbying firm and another foot in Hillary Clinton's campaigns. Under his leadership, Burson-Marsteller has followed the same corporate mentality of not including the public's wellbeing as a factor in deciding what projects to undertake. B-M boasts in its website that the company recognizes its "obligations to all who have a stake in our success, including shareowners, clients, employees, and suppliers." (Notice that even the firm admits by implication that the "public," "consumers" or "national interests" don't have a stake in the firm's success.)

    Burson recently lobbied the Texas legislature for TXU energy - a widely despised energy company in Texas - in support of an initiative that would secure the company's ability to build three more coal plants at a time when we are trying to put the usage of fossil fuels behind us. This is hardly the first time that Burson has put the company's bottom-line ahead of the environment. The firm has served TXU for almost a decade now on multiple projects, all aimed at multi-level lobbying to push for company's plans to continue to build coal plants. In 1993, Burson led a $1.8 million campaign to successfully defeat President Clinton's proposed BTU tax on fossil fuels. Burson is also behind a group called "Foundation for Clean Air Progress," which has been deceptively named as it was specifically formed to hinder - not help as the name implies - measures to control air pollution and designed to pressure the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to adopt tougher pollution controls. The Washington Post reported on June 17, 1997 that the group had participated in a "multimillion-dollar campaign to turn back EPA regulations for smog and soot."

    Burson was also hired by Blackwater USA to help Erik Prince with his testimony to Congress two months ago about his employees' killing of 17 Iraqi civilians.

    One of the lobbying methods that Penn's Burson employs is phone campaigns to constituents of legislators who are the "targets." Constituents receive a phone call, sometimes from a group artificially created with an innocent-sounding name. Caller explains the reason for the call and the issue in debate, tries to convince the constituent why he or she should support a certain position and asks whether he or she would be willing to write a letter to the target in support of that position. If the constituent agrees to the one-sided argument, the caller then asked for some personal information to compose a personalized letter on the constituent's behalf. The unique letter is then written and sent to the constituent along with a pre-stamped envelope and pre-addressed to the legislator. All the constituent has to do is to sign the letter, put it in the envelope and throw it in outgoing mail.

    Burson also seeks to influence policy through its political action committee. According to SourceWatch and the Center for Responsive Politics, Burson's federal PAC raised more than $69,000 for the 2004 election cycle. Of that amount, 37% went to democrats while 58% went to republicans. Notice the firm's role in helping to secure a larger republican majority in Congress in 2004.

    Lobbying and PACs have been a part of a long tradition of participatory democracy in this country. But the involvement of Mark Penn as the top strategist for the Clinton campaign is inapt for several reasons:

    1) Burson-Marsteller - both through its lobbying efforts as well as its PAC - pushes for policies that are often significantly detrimental to progressive values and directly designed to serve the interest of multinational corporations to the detriment of the American consumers and workers. These policies are also contrary to many of Hillary Clinton's stated position on issues.

    2) There was a great deal of criticism of the Armenian genocide bill, the strongest of which was that it wasn't the right time for the bill because of our geopolitical interests. But the fact is that the Congress has been intending to formally recognize this historically unchallenged event for two decades. But every time the bill reaches the floor, the lobbyists help to kill it. The inability of congress to pass this important legislation contributes to hurting our image. This is because each failure sends a message to the world that we are willing to keep quiet on a human rights matter and pander to a foreign government that refuses to accept responsibility for its history because we need them as an "ally." Burson's interest to lobby the U.S. Congress on behalf of foreign governments and companies with little or no transparency or accountability with regard to the impact of their lobbying efforts on distorting our foreign policies is extremely inconsistent with who we believe should or should not have influence on our international relations.

    3) Penn's method of running his firm in the most secretive manner and his position as a major strategist for Hillary Clinton is likely to lead to a secretive presidential administration as well.

    4) Mark Penn used his position in the White House to expand his own wealth and business interests and strike a close friendship with the Clintons in the 1990s. If Hillary is elected, Penn will have even better access to the inner White House circle and be in the unique position of lobbying the president personally from within the Oval Office on behalf of his clients, which most often include multinational corporations, labor-union busters, foreign governments, and more republicans than democrats.

    There has not been enough discussion about whether a politician can be considered progressive if she has closely associated herself with someone who has a consistent record of serving the interests of oil, pharmaceutical and other major corporations as well as foreign interests, often at the expense of Americans' interests. In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, President Clinton agreed that voting for Obama - who doesn't get money from lobbyists and whose campaign lobbyists are not running - would be like "rolling the dice." But Mark Penn's life-long commitment to special interests, his intimate involvement with the Hillary Clinton campaign and the influence he will have to push his corporate agenda from within a Clinton White House should be yet another factor to lead any sensible voter to realize that supporting Hillary would be equivalent to raising the bet in the middle of the game knowing you are holding the losing set of cards.

    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph

    Published: October 17, 2007
    WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 — Since leaving Capitol Hill in 1999, former Representative Robert L. Livingston has been the main lobbyist for Turkey in blocking Congressional efforts to pass an Armenian genocide resolution.

    After succeeding twice before — and collecting more than $12 million in fees for his firm, the Livingston Group — he is pushing once again for his client.

    In recent months, Mr. Livingston, a Louisiana Republican who was once speaker-designate of the House, has consulted with Vice President xxxx Cheney and with Karl Rove, when he was still the top White House political strategist. He escorted Turkish dignitaries to Capitol Hill to warn that the resolution threatened to destroy a strong Iraq war alliance.

    He made a phone call that helped persuade a Louisiana member to change his position and got other Republicans to remove their names from a growing list of co-sponsors. And he courted a powerful Democrat, Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, who earlier this year asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow Democrat, not to bring the measure up for a House vote.

    Mr. Livingston has also showered money on House and Senate members, the National Republican Congressional Committee and other political causes. He and his firm gave more than $200,000 in campaign donations in the last election cycle, records show.

    Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a nonbinding resolution condemning as genocide the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks beginning in 1915. Ms. Pelosi, a strong supporter, promised Sunday to bring the matter up for a floor vote before Congress recesses in mid-November.

    But this week, a surge of defections by members who backed the resolution showed that Mr. Livingston’s high-powered effort was gaining momentum.

    As Turkey reacted angrily to the House committee action in the last few days, members began responding to arguments that the resolution posed a national security threat. Those arguments were put forth by the Bush administration, Mr. Livingston and another prominent lobbyist, Richard A. Gephardt, of Missouri, the former House majority leader and a Democrat.

    The issue has pitted Turkey’s money and high-placed connections against a persistent and emotional campaign by Armenian-American citizens’ groups.

    “The Turks have done everything they possibly could,” said former Representative Stephen J. Solarz, whose firm got $165,000 this summer lobbying for Turkey under an arrangement with Mr. Livingston. Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, a resolution sponsor, called Turkey’s lobbying “the most intense I’ve ever seen.”

    Both Mr. Livingston, who opposed a genocide resolution while in Congress, and Mr. Gephardt declined to discuss their work for Turkey, referring questions to the Turkish Embassy.

    But records filed at the Justice Department show Turkish expenditures since August 2006 of about $3.2 million for lobbyists and public relations firms. In Mr. Livingston’s case, the reports offer details of his lobbying efforts.

    Mr. Gephardt, a senior counsel at the law firm of DLA Piper who retired from Congress in 2005, began working for Turkey in March under a yearlong contract worth $1.2 million. He has been criticized by Armenian-Americans because he previously supported Armenia and co-sponsored an earlier genocide resolution.

    Mr. Gephardt now has concerns related to national security, said Michael Messman, a lobbying colleague of Mr. Gephardt.

    Turkey has never mustered the intense grass-roots support in the United States that has been Armenia’s strength, with constituents pressing lawmakers to back the measure. Records show that Armenia has spent far less money on lobbying. Its largest expenditure went to the public relations firm of Burson-Marsteller, which earned about $300,000 from August 2006 to April 2007.

    After Mr. Livingston resigned from the House in 1999 amid disclosures about an extramarital affair, Turkey retained the Livingston Group, his new bipartisan firm. It has built a large foreign practice, representing among others the governments of Azerbaijan, the Congo Republic and the Cayman Islands. More than a quarter of the firm’s income, which has totaled more than $71 million, has come from foreign clients, records show.

    Mr. Livingston earned Turkey’s gratitude by helping stop two resolutions in 2000 and 2004. When Democrats took control of the House last year, Turkey continued to rely on him as its principal lobbyist, though it eventually brought in Mr. Gephardt’s firm. Reports on Mr. Gephardt’s activities have not been filed.

    Mr. Livingston contacted Mr. Rove on Nov. 28, 2006, just after a Livingston Group lobbyist attended a weekend retreat at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia for key Congressional supporters of Turkey. In January, Mr. Livingston talked with a Cheney aide and prepared for Capitol Hill visits by Ambassador Nabi Sensoy of Turkey and other officials.

    Mr. Schiff, the California Democrat, introduced the resolution on Jan. 30, with 160 co-sponsors.

    The next day, the records show, Mr. Livingston called Representative Bobby Jindal, Republican of Louisiana, a backer. Mr. Jindal promptly withdrew his name.

    In December 2006, Mr. Livingston and an associate contributed $10,000 to Mr. Jindal’s campaign for governor of Louisiana. Mr. Jindal’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

    Mr. Livingston’s courtship of Mr. Murtha began in February. After a meeting with Mr. Livingston and another lobbyist from the firm, Mr. Murtha was among a group of members who met with Mr. Livingston, Mr. Sensoy and the Turkish foreign minister, Abdullah Gul. Long opposed to a genocide resolution, Mr. Murtha wrote Ms. Pelosi on Feb. 8 asking her not to allow a floor vote.

    Mr. Livingston contributed $3,000 to Mr. Murtha’s campaign in February. A Murtha aide said the contribution reflects support for his record on the issue.

    On April 24, the annual observance of the Armenian genocide, President Bush made a brief tribute to the dead, avoiding the term genocide. In Congress, attention focused on the Iraq war.

    The resolution soon rebounded. Mr. Livingston made a concerted, though unsuccessful, effort to win over Representative Tom Lantos, Democrat of California, a Holocaust survivor and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Lantos had opposed a similar resolution in 2000.

    Mr. Livingston took Turkish officials to meet Mr. Lantos, then met with him again on May 18. A Livingston associate gave $500 to his campaign in March.

    Mr. Livingston met with Mr. Cheney on May 4, and an associate consulted a Cheney aide four times from July 10 to July 20.

    Mr. Livingston continued to push lawmakers to change their positions. Representative Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, signed up as a co-sponsor on June 26, then changed his mind two days later after a call from the lobbyist.

    Representative Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican, withdrew his support on June 27 after meeting with Mr. Livingston, Mr. Jindal and a member of the Turkish Parliament.

    Mr. Livingston’s logs end at July 31. His firm will file another report detailing activities up to and including the House committee vote in favor of the resolution. Since then, a Republican and a group of Democrats have dropped their backing.

    Kitty Bennett contributed reporting.

    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph

    Oct. 5, 2007 - 7:55 p.m.

    Turkey Hires Familiar Faces for Genocide Debate

    By Alan K. Ota, CQ Staff

    In 2003, Richard A. Gephardt cosponsored a resolution that put the
    "Armenian genocide" in company with the Holocaust and mass deaths in
    Cambodia and Rwanda.

    In 2000, the Missouri lawmaker backed a similar measure, and in a
    letter to then-Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Gephardt said he was
    "committed to obtaining official U.S. government recognition of the
    Armenian genocide."

    Now Gephardt is a foreign agent lobbying on behalf of Turkey, and he's
    got a different view of the world. He's working to stymie the latest
    version of an Armenian genocide resolution.

    If the resolution (H Res 106) gets through committee this week, it
    will bring a billing bonanza for lobbyists working against it -
    including Gephardt, who represents one of the newest additions to a
    small group of former lawmakers who serve as the American face of
    foreign countries on Capitol Hill.

    The Armenian resolution is popular - with 226 co-sponsors - but
    problematic, given that Turkey is an important Muslim ally in a
    strategically vital part of the world.

    The events at issue occurred nearly a century ago in what was then the
    Ottoman Empire, but Turkey is still sensitive to characterizations of
    the killings.

    Gephardt, responding via e-mail to written questions, confirmed that
    he had escorted Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy to meetings with
    Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders.

    Gephardt (1977-2005) acknowledged that he had in the past actively
    supported efforts to label activities of the Ottoman Empire as
    genocide. But "alienating Turkey through the passage of the resolution
    could undermine our efforts to promote stability in the theater of
    operations, if not exacerbate the situation further," he said.

    Pelosi, D-Calif., declined to comment on any private talks about
    Turkey, saying only that she would welcome talks on the measure and
    other issues with Gephardt, who preceded her as House Democratic
    leader. "I have the highest regard for xxxx Gephardt. Any advice he
    has on any subject is indeed welcome by me," she said.

    Pelosi's open door for Gephardt demonstrates the muscle former
    lawmakers can provide for clients by snagging meetings and
    conversations with the most powerful members of Congress. As with all
    other kinds of lobbying, they can't assure success but they can give
    client countries access they might not otherwise have to the
    legislative branch.

    When Republicans controlled Congress, they often blocked measures,
    such as the Armenian resolution, that could embarrass allies and the
    Bush administration.

    In the 110th Congress, foreign countries have had mixed success trying
    to slow or water down such measures.

    Despite the help of prominent lobbyists, such as former House Minority
    Leader Bob Michel, R-Ill. (1957-1995), Japan lost a battle in July
    when the House passed a resolution (H Res 121) urging it to apologize
    for using sex slaves, or comfort women, in World War II.

    Working with lobbyists associated with DLA Piper, the firm where
    Gephardt is a senior counsel, Ethiopia got plenty of support from the
    White House. But the country failed to delay House action on a plan
    (HR 2003) by Donald M. Payne, D-N.J., to limit security assistance
    unless it moves to release political prisoners and protect human

    Gephardt said he had met with Ethiopian representatives but elected
    not to work for Ethiopia.

    However, Gephardt has been active on behalf of Turkey, which has long
    insisted that Armenians died not from genocide, but in conflicts tied
    to World War I - including an uprising against Turkey's Ottoman

    Also representing Turkey is former Rep. Robert L. Livingston,
    R-La. (1977-1999).

    Another former congressman, Stephen J. Solarz, D-N.Y. (1975-1993),
    worked for Turkey until August.

    The Foreign Affairs Committee plans to take up the Armenian genocide
    resolution on Wednesday, and Payne and other members predict it will
    have broad bipartisan support on the panel.

    Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said a House vote on the
    Armenian genocide resolution has not been scheduled, but he believes
    it will happen this year. "It's my expectation we will have a floor
    vote before we leave here in November," Hoyer said.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., backs a companion measure
    (S Res 106), but it has less momentum: just 32 co-sponsors.
    Tougher Limits Sought

    Critics argue that former lawmakers give foreign countries too much
    power inside the Capitol and are calling for tougher restrictions and
    revolving-door limits.

    For example, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, has called for a lifetime ban
    (HR 168) to prevent lawmakers and senior government officials from
    becoming foreign agents.

    "Public confidence in government is shaken when they see high-level
    officials and lawmakers going to work for foreign countries," she

    In response to such critiques, Gephardt and other foreign agents
    contend they seek to merely ensure a vigorous debate, not special
    favors for foreign countries.

    "The better informed members are about all aspects of a particular
    issue, the more likely Congress comes to the proper course of action,"
    Gephardt said.

    He said he serves dual roles in "private conversations with former
    colleagues and meetings where I accompany the client."

    Livingston describes the role of foreign agents as calming what can be
    emotional fights. "It's more intense than lobbying," he said.

    Working in tandem with the Bush administration, Gephardt, Livingston
    and, for a time, Solarz tapped their personal contacts to try to block
    the Armenian genocide resolution.

    Last Dec. 19, Solarz sent a letter to Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla.,
    inviting him to lead a congressional delegation to Turkey and to visit
    Solarz' home on its Mediterranean coast.

    "You and other members of the delegation would be more than welcome to
    spend the evening and the next day with us," Solarz wrote. "If not,
    I'll still love you, but I'll need to find someone else to do it."

    Wexler, who never made the trip to visit Solarz in Turkey, is not
    expected to support the resolution.

    Turkey hired DLA Piper on May 10. Gephardt registered the next day to
    represent the country.

    The firm has since circulated a package of materials to lawmakers that
    lays out Turkey's case for foreign aid and its argument against the
    Armenian genocide resolution.

    Lawmakers in both parties have long catered to the interests of
    Americans of Armenian descent, a small but vocal group. The
    Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues has about 120 members, while
    the Congressional Turkey Caucus is roughly half as large.

    In 2000, Livingston and other advocates for Turkey won a victory when
    President Clinton urged Hastert to back away from a planned floor vote
    on an Armenian genocide resolution. "It wasn't just Clinton. It was us
    working it hard," Livingston said. "The Speaker changed his mind."

    Hoping for a similar reversal by Pelosi, Secretary of State
    Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have sent
    letters laying out the reasons they think the resolution would
    "significantly endanger U.S. national security interests."

    In the coming week, the lobbying focus will be on the Foreign Affairs
    Committee, where 22 of the 50 members are cosponsors, but some may be
    amenable to making word changes in the name of U.S-Turkish relations.

    After that, the lobbying goes behind the scenes, and it will be up to
    Pelosi whether and when to allow a House floor fight.


    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph
    Originally posted by Joseph View Post
    Finally, a comprehensive list of the Congressional Turkish lobby. Interesting though, a few of the members are also part of the Armenian Caucus, such as Jim Moran.
    This site also provides a comprehensive list of Turkish organizations in the US and links to denialist literature and other items that support Turkeys fascist regime.

    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph

    Turkey looks to Israel to influence Jewish lobby

    Friday, August 24, 2007

    Turkey annuls the lobby contract

    Shocked at the ADL's decision, Turkey decided to annul a contract with the lobbying firm DLA Piper and stay with Livingstone firm. The lobby firms are supposed to use their influence on the members of Congress and some other high-level administration officials. DLA Piper is known to be close to the Democrats in the United States.

    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph
    Finally, a comprehensive list of the Congressional Turkish lobby. Interesting though, a few of the members are also part of the Armenian Caucus, such as Jim Moran.

    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph
    Turkish Caucus in the US Congress

    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph

    The American Conservative

    April 24, 2006

    By Philip Giraldi

    Sibel Edmonds, the Turkish FBI translator turned whistleblower who has been
    subjected to a gag order could provide a major insight into how
    neoconservatives distort US foreign policy and enrich themselves at the same

    On one level, her story appears straightforward: several Turkish lobbying
    groups allegedly bribed congressmen to support policies favourable to

    But beyond that, the Edmonds revelations become more serpentine and appear
    to involve AIPAC, Israel and a number of leading neoconservatives who have
    profited from the Turkish connection.

    Israel has long cultivated a close relationship with Turkey since Ankara's
    neighbours and historic enemies - Iran, Syria and Iraq - are also hostile to
    Tel Aviv. Islamic Turkey has also had considerable symbolic value for
    Israel, demonstrating that hostility to Muslim neighbours is not a sine qua
    non for the Jewish state.

    Turkey benefits from the relationship by securing general benevolence and
    increased aid from the US Congress - as well as access to otherwise
    unattainable military technology. The Turkish General Staff has a particular
    interest because much of the military spending is channeled through
    companies in which the generals have a financial stake, making for a very
    cozy and comfortable business arrangement. T

    he commercial interest has also fostered close political ties, with the
    American Turkish Council, American Turkish Cultural Alliance and the
    Assembly of Turkish American Associations all developing warm relationships
    with AIPAC and other Jewish and Israel advocacy groups throughout the US.

    Someone has to be in the middle to keep the happy affair going, so enter the
    neocons, intent on securing Israel against all comers and also keen to turn
    a dollar. In fact the neocons seem to have a deep and abiding interest in
    Turkey, which, under other circumstances, might be difficult to explain.

    Doug Feith's International Advisors Inc, a registered agent for Turkey in
    1989 - 1994, netted $600,000 per year from Turkey, with Richard Perle taking
    $48,000 annually as a consultant. Other noted neoconservatives linked to
    Turkey are former State Department number three, Marc Grossman, current
    Pentagon Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman, Paul Wolfowitz
    and former congressman Stephen Solarz. The money involved does not appear to
    come from the Turkish government, and FBI investigators are trying to
    determine its source and how it is distributed. Some of it may come from
    criminal activity, possibly drug trafficking, but much more might come from
    arms dealing. Contracts in the hundreds of millions, or even billions of
    dollars provide considerable fat for those well placed to benefit.

    Investigators are also looking at Israel's particular expertise in the
    illegal sale of US military technology to countries like China and India.
    Fraudulent end-user certificates produced by Defense Ministries in Israel
    and Turkey are all that is needed to divert military technology to other,
    less benign, consumers.

    The military-industrial-complex/neocon network is also well attested. Doug
    Feith has been associated with Northrup Grumman for years, while defense
    contractors fund many neocon-linked think tanks and "information" services.
    Feith, Perle and a number of other neocons have long had beneficial
    relationships with various Israeli defense contractors.

    Leave a comment:

  • Joseph
    Washington Institute For Near East Policy (WINEP)

    Washington Institute For Near East Policy (WINEP)

    In their controversial 2006 paper about the influence of the pro-Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy, the respected realist scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt wrote that part of the “Lobby's” success stems from its efforts to extend its reach beyond Beltway politics and into the domain of policy institutes. “The Israeli side also dominates the think tanks which play an important role in shaping public debate as well as actual policy. The Lobby created its own think tank in 1985, when Martin Indyk [who would later become an influential Mideast adviser to President Bill Clinton] helped to found the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel, claiming instead to provide a ‘balanced and realistic' perspective on Middle East issues, it is funded by individuals deeply committed to advancing Israel's agenda” (“The Israel Lobby,” London Review of Books, March 23, 2006).

    They continue: “The Lobby's influence extends well beyond WINEP, however. Over the past 25 years, pro-Israel forces have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks employ few, if any, critics of U.S. support for Israel.”

    Touting bipartisan credentials, WINEP's “Mission” page on its website features prominent quotes from Al Gore and neoconservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who was blurbed as saying: “The Washington Institute has become the number one center for information and analysis in Washington.” As WINEP puts it, the institute promotes “an American engagement in the Middle East committed to strengthening alliances, nurturing friendships, and promoting security, peace, prosperity, and democracy for the people of the region.” Its activities include annual conferences, a Presidential Study Group composed of a “bipartisan blue-ribbon commission charged with drafting a blueprint for the next administration's Middle East policy,” closed-door policy forums, and various publications and research programs.

    Like the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and other like-minded policy institutes covering Mideast issues, WINEP aims to cultivate close ties among senior military officials in the United States and Israel, as well as in Turkey and Jordan. The main mechanism for this outreach is its Military Fellows Program, which “brings together senior officers from the armed forces of the United States and key Middle Eastern allies.”

    Through their overlapping staffs, WINEP is closely associated with the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. The longtime director of the Jaffee Center was Maj. Gen. Aharon Yariv, former Israeli government minister and director of intelligence who died in 1994. Funds for the Jaffee Center were “provided mainly by members of Jewish communities of the United States who have proved aware of and sensitive to the need for such an institution in Israel.” According to Jaffee's website, the center conducts research on Israeli national security and aims “to contribute to the public debate and governmental deliberation of issues that are—or should be—at the top of Israel's national security agenda.”

    WINEP's staff and directors include: Executive Director Robert Satloff; Deputy Director for Research Patrick Clawson; Counselor and Zieglar Distinguished Fellow Dennis Ross; Director of the Turkish Research Program Mark Parris; Senior Fellows Michael Eisenstadt and David Makovsky; Associates Zeev Schiff and Ehud Yaar; Soref Fellow Emily Hunt; Adjunct Scholars Hirsh Goodman, Joshua Muravchik, Daniel Pipes, Michael Rubin, Harvey Sicherman (of Foreign Policy Research Institute), and Raymond Tanter; and Visiting Fellow Martin Kramer.

    WINEP's Board of Advisers includes: Warren Christopher, Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Alexander Haig, Max M. Kampelman, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Samuel W. Lewis, Edward Luttwak, Michael Mandelbaum, Robert McFarlane, Martin Peretz, Richard Perle, James Roche, George P. Shultz, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey, and Mortimer Zuckerman. Wolfowitz and Roche resigned from the board when they entered the Bush administration in 2001, although WINEP still proudly lists them.

    WINEP boasts of an extensive presence in the media, an achievement aided in part by the presence of major media figures on its advisory board, including Zuckerman of U.S. News & World Report and Peretz of the New Republic.

    Among WINEP's in-house publications are PolicyWatch and PeaceWatch. Both publications and the institute have been strong defenders of the fence that Israel is building along its borders and into the occupied territories. For example, in April 2004 WINEP published Policy Focus #47, The West Bank Fence: A Vital Component in Israel's Strategy of Defense, written by Maj. Gen. Doron Almog of the Israel Defense Forces.

    More recently, WINEP's publications have been largely uncritical of Israel's war against Lebanon, weighing in with a number of analyses regarding the sort of multinational force necessary to produce an end to the conflict, whether Syria can be brought on board in negotiations, and “the opportunities” a ground invasion might bring to Israel's negotiating position.

    In 1985, Martin Indyk, former research director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), founded WINEP. While AIPAC focused its lobbying on Congress, WINEP was founded as a think tank that would primarily interact with the executive branch to set U.S. policy toward Israel and the Middle East. In contrast to the obviously partisan character of AIPAC, WINEP has projected itself, at least until the administration of George W. Bush, as an objective institute.

    During the Bush Senior and Clinton administrations, WINEP was undoubtedly the most influential think tank on Mideast policy. Its 1998 report, Building for Peace: An American Strategy for the Middle East, helped shape the George H. W. Bush administration policy toward the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The report advocated that the incoming administration “resist pressures for a procedural breakthrough until conditions have ripened.” Writing for the Middle East Report, Stanford University professor Joel Beinin stated: “Six members of the study group responsible for the report joined the first Bush administration, which adopted this stalemate recipe not to change until change was unavoidable. Hence the United States acceded to Israel's refusal to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization despite the PLO's recognition of Israel at the November 1988 session of the Palestine National Council” (April 6, 2003).

    WINEP followed up its 1988 policy blueprint in 1992 with its Enduring Partnership report, which recommended a policy of dual containment to isolate Iran and Iraq. Eleven signatories of the 1992 report joined the Clinton administration, which adopted the dual containment framework. Indyk joined the administration as special assistant to the president and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council.

    At the onset of the George W. Bush administration, WINEP's influence dimmed as neoconservatives at the American Enterprise Institute and Project for the New American Century successfully pushed for a complete break from previous policy frameworks toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East. WINEP, which also had several leading neoconservatives on its advisory board, including Perle and Wolfowitz, has over the past several years moved even further to the right and toward the hardline positions of the Likud Party militarists, a move that has been buttressed by the inclusion of a number of additional neoconservatives among its ranks, including Rubin, Kramer, Pipes, and Muravchik.

    In Spring 2002, WINEP sponsored a 52-member group of experts and congressional members who declared that “circumstances were not ripe for high-level efforts to restart the peace negotiations, and that the most urgent task was to prevent a regional war while fighting terrorism and weapons proliferation,” as Beinin phrased it. Such a policy, observed Beinin, “allows Israel to assert its overwhelming military advantage and to continue to create facts on the ground, especially settlements, which will make peace all the more difficult to achieve in the future.” WINEP later rejected the Bush administration's “road map” for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Echoing those opposed to any negotiations with the Palestinians, WINEP Executive Director Satloff dismissed the proposal as a “sham” since it was based on an “indecent parallelism between Israeli and Palestinian behavior” ( PeaceWatch, February 2003).

    WINEP provides no information about its funding sources on its website, though it does solicit contributions. According to the latest research by, the institute received $574,500 from two right-wing foundations in the 1991 to 2000 period: Smith Richardson Foundation and Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

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    Max Kampelman
    Jeane Kirkpatrick
    Joshua Muravchik
    Daniel Pipes
    James Roche
    Michael Rubin
    Paul Wolfowitz

    Foreign Policy Research Institute
    Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
    Middle East Forum
    Project for the New American Century
    Contact Information

    1828 L Street NW, Suite 1050
    Washington, D.C. 20036
    Voice: (202) 452-0650
    Fax: (202) 223-5364
    Email: [email protected]

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    Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)

    Describing itself as "the most influential group on the issue of U.S.-Israel military relations," the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is a rightist Washington-based advocacy and research institution that promotes "strategic cooperation" between the United States and Israel on a plank of issues, including missile defense, high-tech conventional weapons, radical movements, terrorism, weapons export controls, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to "rogue" nations. Founded as a study group in the mid-1970s aimed at learning the lessons of the 1973 Yom Kippur War—which included ensuring the that United States would come to the assistance of Israel in a conflict—JINSA transformed itself into a "defense education group" in 1979 that endeavors to create strong ties between the U.S. and Israeli militaries. It operates as a 501(c)(3) organization that receives most of its funding through private donations, including from what it claims are 17,000 paid members.

    According to JINSA, the group "communicates with the Jewish Community and the national security establishment on behalf of the role Israel can and does play in bolstering American interests, as well as the link between American defense policy and the security of Israel." It has a two-fold mandate: "To educate the American public about the importance of an effective U.S. defense capability so that our vital interests as Americans can be safeguarded;" and "To inform the American defense and foreign affairs community about the important role Israel can and does play in bolstering democratic interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East."

    JINSA's president is Norman Hascoe, a financier and former engineer who was at one time included on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans. JINSA's chairman is Mark Broxmeyer, a New York-based real estate mogul. JINSA's board of advisers includes a passel of hawkish and neoconservative foreign policy elites as well as a number of retired military officers, including Anne Bayefsky, Stephen Bryen (whose wife, Shoshana, is a JINSA director), retired Adm. David Jeremiah, Michael Ledeen, former congressman Jack Kemp, former ambassador Max Kampelman, Joshua Muravchik, Richard Perle, James Woolsey, and Kenneth Timmerman. xxxx Cheney, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, and the late Jeane Kirkpatrick are past advisers.

    In a discussion of JINSA's influence, as well as that of another like-minded outfit, the Center for Security Policy, journalist Jason Vest compared the two groups and their overlapping advisory councils to the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), a Cold War-era letterhead group that in the 1970s championed rolling back détente and implementing a confrontational anti-Soviet agenda. Wrote Vest: "Just as the right-wing defense intellectuals made CPD a cornerstone of a shadow defense establishment during the Carter administration, so, too, did the right during the Clinton years, in part through two organizations: the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP). And just as was the case two decades ago, dozens of their members have ascended to powerful government posts, where their advocacy in support of the same agenda continues, abetted by the out-of-government adjuncts from which they came. Industrious and persistent, they've managed to weave a number of issues—support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey, and American unilateralism in general—into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core" ("The Men from JINSA and CSP," Nation, September 2, 2002).

    According to its website, JINSA's core annual activities include "sponsoring a trip for retired United States Flag and General Officers to Israel and a study program in Israel for cadets and midshipmen from the Naval Academy, the Military Academy at West Point, and the Air Force Academy. JINSA also arranges interchanges between Pentagon officials and Jewish community leadership and sponsors lectures and conferences at the national military academies and leading national security think tanks. These programs are aimed at facilitating dialogue between security policy makers, military officials, diplomats, and the community at large to increase the understanding of national security issues."

    In addition to its regularly published opinion and reporting pieces appearing on its website, JINSA maintains a number of publications. These include the Observer, "a quarterly review of U.S.-Turkey-Israel cooperation" copublished by JINSA and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations; the Journal of International Security Affairs, a biannual academic-style journal edited by Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) and a contributing expert for the Israel-based Ariel Center for Policy Research; and the Islamic Extremism Newswatch, a rundown of media stories covering the activities of everyone from the Palestinian Liberation Organization to al-Qaida.

    Of these three publications, only the Journal of International Security Affairs appears to be regularly published. The Journal's Spring 2007 edition contained articles by a number of hawkish foreign policy scholars and former officials. Henry Sokolski, a former fellow at both the National Institute for Public Policy and the Heritage Foundation, wrote a piece on the politics of nonproliferation; Henry Cooper, a former head of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization and an early champion of the Reagan-era Star Wars missile defense initiative, wrote on the need for Washington to vigorously pursue missile defense in order to protect the American people; and John Wobensmith and Jeff Smith, both scholars associated with AFPC, wrote on the need to dramatically overhaul the nation's intelligence services. The two writers pointed to the creation of the Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG), a controversial outfit in the State Department that many observers have likened to the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, as "an example of the type of approach that provides hope for those of us worried that the bureaucratic, politically correct atmosphere which governs our intelligence services has become radical Islam's greatest ally and asset." They did not mention how similar outfits run by the likes of Douglas Feith in the Pentagon during the run-up to the Iraq War were seriously criticized for producing highly politicized intelligence products that, although not fully vetted by the intelligence services, were used to provide faulty justifications for invading Iraq (John Wobensmith and Jeff Smith, "Reinvigorating Intelligence," Journal of International Security Affairs, Spring 2007; see also, Right Web Profile: Office of Iranian Affairs).

    Many observers regard JINSA as a core element of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, including realist scholars Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, who, in their controversial 2006 paper "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," highlighted JINSA as one of several influential policy institutes that constitute the "think tank" arm of the Israel lobby. They wrote: "Over the past 25 years, pro-Israel forces have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks are decidedly pro-Israel, and include few, if any, critics of U.S. support for the Jewish state."

    JINSA plays a unique role in the pro-Israel lobby. Whereas other more traditional lobbying groups, like the highly influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee, focus on influencing congressional figures' votes on legislation critical to U.S. support of Israel, JINSA works on military-to-military ties between the countries and pays special attention to weapons issues—especially missile defense—while maintaining close ties to the military-industrial complex.

    According to journalist Mark Milstein, the broad contours of JINSA's work were originally crafted by Ledeen, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and the husband and wife team Stephen and Shoshana Bryen. In 1979, Stephen Bryen replaced Ledeen as JINSA's executive director, after Ledeen and other early directors had successfully worked to distance the organization "from the rest of the pro-Israel establishment, and methodically [create] close ties with the U.S. defense community." Ledeen later was implicated by some Reagan officials for having helped facilitate what would become the Iran-Contra scandal. According to Milstein, under Bryen, JINSA became "fully operational, finally shedding its study group title in December 1979." When Bryen left JINSA to take a post in the Reagan administration, where he helped shape a decidedly pro-Israel line within the administration, he handed the reigns of the organization over to his wife in 1981 (Mark Milstein, "Strategic Ties or Tentacles?" Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October 1991).

    Wrote Milstein: "Bryen became a consultant for Richard N. Perle, the Reagan administration assistant secretary of defense-designate. After Perle was confirmed by the Senate, Bryen was named deputy assistant secretary of defense in charge of regulating the transfer of U.S. military technology to foreign countries. Critics at the time cited the placement of Bryen in one of the most sensitive positions at the Pentagon as evidence of the tilt in U.S. policy toward Israel under Reagan. 'They don't say no anymore to Israel at the Pentagon,' said a former high-ranking Defense Department official. 'Israel is the 51st state.' It was during the Reagan era that U.S. economic aid to Israel rose to $1.2 billion annually, and military aid to $1.8 billion annually. Bryen had a role in choosing not only what U.S. weaponry Israel would be allowed to purchase with those funds, but also what sensitive U.S. military technology would be made available to Israel for use in its own burgeoning arms industry."

    Many individuals with defense industry backgrounds and affiliations have served on JINSA's board of advisers and have been involved in numerous contracts with Israel. Leon Edney, David Jeremiah, and Charles May, all retired U.S. military officers, have been consultants to Northrop Grumman, which has built Israeli ships and planes. JINSA advisers May, Paul Cerjan, and Carlisle Trost have also worked for Lockheed Martin, which has sold F-16s, flight simulators, and rocket systems to Israel. Trost has served as a member of the board of General Dynamics, whose subsidiary Gulfstream has a $206 million contract with the Pentagon ("The Men from JINSA and CSP," Nation, September 2, 2002).

    Immediately after 9/11, JINSA joined other neoconservative-aligned groups like the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in calling for an expansive U.S. military response that would not be limited to attacking al-Qaida. In a September 13, 2001 press release entitled "This Goes Beyond Bin Laden," JINSA joined a chorus of neoconservatives in and out of the Bush administration, like former Pentagon number two Paul Wolfowitz, in arguing that Iraq should be a target of the war. It argued: "A long investigation to prove Osama bin Laden's guilt with prosecutorial certainty is entirely unnecessary. He is guilty in word and deed. His history is the source of his culpability. The same holds true for Saddam Hussein. Our actions in the past certainly were not forceful enough, and now we must seize the opportunity to alter this pattern of passivity." Among its recommended list of actions to be take by the U.S. government were: "Halt all U.S. purchases of Iraqi oil under the UN Oil for Food Program and ... provide all necessary support to the Iraq National Congress, including direct American military support, to effect a regime change in Iraq"; "revoke the Presidential Order banning assassinations"; "overturn the 1995 CIA Directive limiting whom the United States can recruit to aid counterterrorism in an effort to boost our human intelligence"; "demand that Egypt and Saudi Arabia sever all remaining ties with Osama bin Laden, including ties with Saudi-sponsored nongovernmental organizations and groups abroad that raise money for bin Laden and other terrorist organizations"; "suspend U.S. military aid to Egypt while reevaluating Egypt's support for American policy objectives"; and "reevaluate America's security relationship with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States unless both actually join in our war against terrorism."

    More recently, Shoshana Bryen, in a JINSA "Viewpoint" posted on the group's website in September 2006, addressed the fallout from the Summer 2006 war between Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel. In contrast to other neoconservative pundits, like the Hudson Institute's Meyrav Wurmser, Bryen argued that it was too early to declare the war a failure from the Israeli point of view. Instead, she argued that "the Summer War was, in fact, a battle in the larger war against terrorists and the states that harbor and/or support them. There was no possibility of a final military victory in August; long-term success or failure in the process remains at issue."

    Every year, JINSA awards its favorite policy or military elite the Henry "Scoop" Jackson Distinguished Service Award. The award honors "those leaders whose careers have been distinguished by the principle that is the foundation of JINSA's work: the belief that the United States requires a strong military capability for both its own security and for that of trustworthy friends and allies. This was the cornerstone of the late Senator Jackson's visionary policy and it guides JINSA today. Senator Jackson helped define our mandate and our programming is designed to further it." Among the recipients have been Sen. John McCain (2006), Paul Wolfowitz (2002), former Rep. Curt Weldon (1999), Sen. Joseph Lieberman (1997), xxxx Cheney (1991), and Jeane Kirkpatrick (1984) ("The Henry 'Scoop' Jackson Distinguished Service Award History and Past Recipients," JINSA, September 21, 2004).

    After receiving the award in December 2006, McCain told his JINSA audience: "I'm grateful to receive an award and have my name associated in any way with a great leader and one of the architects of our victory in the Cold War." He added: "Tehran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons clearly poses an unacceptable risk. Protected by a nuclear deterrent, Iran would feel unconstrained to sponsor terrorist attacks against any perceived enemy." The senator also had strong words for Palestinian leaders who say they desire peace but wage a terror war against Israel and for U.S. leaders who would push Israel to engage with such terrorists. "No American leader should be expected to sell a false peace to our democratic ally, consider Israel's right to self-defense less legitimate than ours, or insist that Israel negotiate a political settlement while terrorism remains its adversaries' favored bargaining tool" ("JINSA Bestows Distinguished Service Award Upon Senator John McCain" JINSA press release, February 9, 2007.)

    Between 2001 and 2004, JINSA received nearly $8 million in gifts, grants, and contributions (see 2005 Form 990). Thomas Neumann, JINSA's executive director since 1991, once boasted: "We receive 99.9, no, 100% of our funding from private donations." He added, "We receive no money from Israel or any defense contractors." At the time of his comments (1991), donors included Ronald Lauder (of Estee Lauder cosmetics), DC lobbyist Donald Agger, Atlantic Research Corporation, a defense contractor, the Smith-Kogod family, the Air Force Association, Armed Services Foundation, and Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (see Milstein, "Strategic Ties or Tentacles?"). According to data collected by MediaTransparency. org, between 1998 and 2005, JINSA received nearly $200,000 from several major rightist donors, including the Smith Richardson Foundation, which gave a $100,000 grant to JINSA in 2003 aimed at facilitating exchanges between U.S. and Israeli law enforcement officials involved in combating terrorism threats. Another regular JINSA donor is Irving Moskowitz, a California magnate whose controversial donating activities include aiding right-wing settler groups in the Occupied Territories. According to the 2005 Form 990 of the Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation, the bingo magnate donated $20,000 to JINSA in 2005 for "work against Islamic funded terrorism." JINSA president Norman Hascoe is also a substantial donor, having given hundreds of thousands to JINSA through his Hascoe Family Foundation (

    Contact Information

    The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
    1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 515
    Washington, DC 20036
    Office: (202) 667-3900
    Fax: (202) 667-0601
    E-Mail: [email protected]

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