Layalina Productions

“The smears referred to have been circulating for years and have been used to attack anyone who has suggested that US government agencies have dirty hands in the affair. The latest round of attacks was begun in a letter to Tam Dalyell MP by a Todd Leventhal, of the US Information Agency, who has the Orwellian title ‘Program Officer for Countering Disinformation and Misinformation’. It is disturbing that the supposedly independent Scottish Crown Office should choose to repeat Leventhal’s allegations without question.
Allan Francovich (1995), “The Lockerbie smears”

Layalina Productions, Inc. began in March 2002 as a non-profit, private sector corporation to develop and produce “informative and entertaining Arabic-language programming for licensing to satellite and cable television networks throughout the Arab Middle East and North Africa.” The point of this is to:

“Address the negative stereotypes about the United States by providing Arabic-speaking television viewers with programming that is honest, positive, and entertaining.”

That seems quite a task—and several questions arise: are all negative aspects of US involvement in the Middle-east simply stereotypes? How honest will they be? Why should the United States dominate the media in the Middle-east? They offer us this indication about how they will set about their mission:

Layalina’s programming consists of debate, drama, entertainment and educational shows that forthrightly address the most controversial issues affecting U.S.-Arab relations. Produced in the United States and throughout the Arab world, our shows largely air in primetime on pan-Arab free-to-air satellite television networks. Layalina’s programming thus reaches a target audience of tens of millions of viewers.

Drawing on the history of the cold war, it is reasonable to expect that as far as the utilisation of the media goes, treatment of these ‘most controversial issues’ might not reflect U.S.-Arab relations even-handedly if they involve people in high positions of power who want to project that power effectively. Propaganda is complex and subtle, some concessions might be made, but not on those aspects of power which the US elite might want to keep hidden or might necessitate a certain degree of deception—propaganda is a form of ‘psychological warfare’ and these dimensions of it have, since the end of the cold war, been quite openly discussed and framed within terms such as ‘public diplomacy’ or ‘soft power’ or ‘information operations’ and we will examine Layalina in these terms below.

We are all presented with a basic question here: why should people in a one country of the Middle-east trust the media of the US when the people of the US do not particularly trust it themselves —because it has been shown on numerous occasions, particularly in its representation of the Middle-east, to be far from honest and exhibit an ongoing tendency to be biased and corrupt and indeed lend itself to be used as a weapon of foreign policy? ‘Full spectrum dominance’ was one term used and some authors assert that when once the US mass media and government had argued that Iraq had possessed “weapons of mass-destruction” and had colluded with “terrorists” in the run-up to the invasion, both allegations have proven to be false. Pretenses for the invasion have shifted now to bringing enlightenment in the form of “democracy” to the Iraqi people (and the Arab world) through preemptive war. But we could argue that these charges are applicable to the mass media (FOX TV and its ‘Pentagon Pundits’ for example) and that Layalina is a private effort, nobly trying to redress this state of affairs in the best of American traditions of free speech.

I would argue that on examination Layalina’s objectivity is completely compromised in this respect; and peculiarly the people behind it simply ignore this fact. That it is part of US ‘Public Diplomacy’ (i.e. propaganda) efforts in the Middle-east is also ignored in respect to a measure of its objectivity and independence. I would describe it as a version of the old ‘Voice of America’, and is similarly funded by the Ford Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation and the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation amongst others. In the 1960s the US government decided that direct funding by the CIA was a liability so the private sector foundations and other institutions at a remove would increasingly become the source of funds and hopefully, with all that money not too many people would ask difficult questions— this had been done in the past particularly with the Ford Foundation. But let us not get too lost in this maze and focus on demystifying Layalina — to find out whether it is right to argue that the whole thing is just some ‘public diplomacy’ aspect of the war providing perverse entertainment to distract from what else is at stake in the exploitation of the region for US ends.

The simple facts of the matter are that most of the people behind Layalina have a lot of money tied up in the Middle-east (mainly in oil and selling arms) and they would like to make more in accordance with the capitalist values they espouse—and that of course has to be at someone else’s expense. So Layalina’s other mission to “Promote understanding between the Arabic-speaking world and the United States”, is obviously chiefly with the rich influential people who run things in a none-too-democratic manner.

Of course what is truly great about the USA is the way their rich and influential people go on about ‘freedom’ to justify their private wealth, entirely oblivious of the lack of it for the majority of their own population and the rest of the world. Layalina actually boasts that its other mission is to “Provide a forum for the people of the Arab world to constructively air their concerns and opinions,” even though this is discouraged at home in any real sense and persecuted in many places in the Middle-east including Iraq—but then public diplomacy carries with an aspect of ‘listening‘, gathering intelligence on how your opponent thinks. In public diplomacy talk ‘listening’ is cheap and provides some sort of comforting illusion that the people described below care, the art of intelligence gathering can involve getting friendly with your enemies. So the negative effects of US involvement in the Middle-east will not be entirely ignored — but since when were the concerns of the people paramount over the power elite in the US never mind the dictatorships of the Middle-east? But the problems will be presented as one of image, not of reality such as here in an article on huffingtonpost.com by Layalina’s President up for hire talent Marc Ginsberg, where he argues that organisation will:

replace the cultural retread reruns that Arab media outlets have been buying from American television studios that have sullied our reputation as well in the region, including reruns of syndicated shows, such as the Jerry Springer Show, Dallas, Baywatch and ancient game shows that collectively provide Arab viewers not the most favorable image of Americans and their national values and aspirations.

The assertion that America’s negative reputation in the world is the fault of Pamela Anderson —unlike her swim wear— does not really hold much water, but it is the kind of deranged and contrived post modernist mentality so convenient to the public diplomat’s meaningless concessions. But such is the chaos at the heart of the system that contrite pennitance along the lines of “don’t blame me I’m a democrat” can be deployed like subtle balm along with the napalm. Previous to this Ginsberg argues that the US has “taken a beating in the battle of ideas” and even that “most of our travails throughout the Arab world can be traced right to the Oval Office, whose occupant and his hapless band of neo-warriors have single-handedly played into the hands of America’s adversaries throughout the region.” But this fake sincerity becomes a little tarnished as his reluctance at understanding what his country has done is revealed by his attempts to obscure it:

Need I go through the litany: The Iraq occupation indelibly defining America’s Middle East democratic agenda; failure to support local democrats and human rights; the consequential rise of Shiite Iran, the proliferation of regional terrorism, the growth of Hezbollah and Hamas, abandonment of peacemaking between Israel and Palestine, etc., etc.

The ‘litany’ might bore Ginsberg, but the death and destruction will be remembered by those it affected; and yes tell us the litany, because it has been obscured with deception and lies since the Bay of Pigs invasion by Ambassadors like your self. And let’s just have a think about what that ‘etc., etc.’ is for a moment. When the Iraq war started the mainstream media did not show children with their heads blown off and neither will Layalina: but the children are still dead and dying as they were before the war during the ‘peace’. Ginsberg’s litany, his sequence of events makes no sense and is anachronistic, that it elides torture and mass murder does not bother him much—one imagines that ‘etc., etc.’ was possibly ‘yadda yadda yadda whatever’ in the first draft. Yeah let’s not get bogged down in the details (reality) of what’s happening — turn on your TV and watch Layalina, lighten up!

We will say a little bit more about Ginsberg below but we should note here that he works with APCO — a detailed analysis of what they do will not be appearing much on Layalina, but one can find informative press releases online such as this one titled “APCO Creates Iraq Reconstruction Task Force” which states:

Washington, D.C. (May 20, 2003) — An Iraq Reconstruction Task Force, to help existing and potential clients navigate the complicated bureaucratic terrain of contracts and subcontracts from the United States government to rebuild Iraq, was named today by APCO Worldwide, announced Margery Kraus, president and CEO of APCO. Given the expertise of APCO consultants in Middle East affairs and with the key U.S. government agencies involved in the contracting process, including the Agency for International Development (AID) and the Defense Department, APCO is well positioned to help identify contract opportunities, navigate the complex award process both in Washington and in Baghdad, and position clients with major contracting parties and the U.S. government’s key appointees in Baghdad.

This also tells us that Marc Ginsberg, “who has extensive public and private sector contract experience in the Middle East, is coordinating APCO’s team.” Through APCO offshoot company Northstar Equity Group, Ginsberg “provides strategic business advice to U.S. and foreign companies operating throughout the Middle East.” Joining him is Richard V. Allen, APCO senior counselor and fellow Layalina Counselor. And the report also tells us that Ginsberg is a is a Middle East analyst for Fox News Channel—another shining beacon for the truth. But what are we to make of his statement that a “hapless band of neo-warriors have single-handedly played into the hands of America’s adversaries throughout the region”? Given that the APCO report also states that Ginsberg is joined in the process of handing out contracts by Steve Solarz, who “co-founded and has maintained the “Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf” with Richard Perle” it would seem Ginsberg is happy to work with the “hapless band” and that they are not so single-handed as he states and that he is making a good living out of it into the bargain. We can also look at his presence on The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies alongside Perle, Bill Kristol, R. James Woolsey and Clifford D. May also the Chairman of the Policy Committee of the Committee on the Present Danger where the hapless band assemble once more under the shelter of some bi-partisan charitable foundation—just like Layalina — indeed going back to Iran/Contra (which involved some of those mentioned below) we see this memo (from Raymond Poindexter) which outlines the process of setting up a phoney organisation:

“Later, in talking to Ollie [North] and Bob Kagan, we focussed on what is missing and that is a well-funded, independent outside group — remember the Committee for the Present Danger — that could mobilize people. Peter suggested 10 or 12 very prominent bipartisan Americans. Added to this would need to be a key action officer and a 501-c-3 tax-exempt structure. It is totally understanding that such a structure is needed and also totally understanding why, for discreet political reasons, it was not included in the memo to Bill Casey. I told Pete he was right but we need ‘a horse’ and money!”

They actually say “Jim Woolsey’s name has come up in that context’ and

“The problem with all of this is that to make it work it really has to be one step removed from our office and, as a result, we have to rely on others to get the job done. will keep you posted.”

But of course the funding to the Contras and the arming of Iran had to be done secretly—it is open season in the war on terror and as the old saying goes ‘if you want a good job doing…’

There is no such thing as hypocrisy in the land of public diplomacy only more public diplomacy. But we will say more about both Ginsberg and Richard V. Allen and the others in due course below. That the whole venture is a form of cultural imperialism is driven home in Layalina’s last mission statement to: “Set, through example, a more professional standard for Arab television by producing and airing a polished product based on the highest international journalistic standards and the best of Hollywood creativity”. Only in the world of public diplomacy are those two terms compatible.

On a more constructive note Layalina does give us the chance to view some of the main players in US public diplomacy and examine their history. That the idea that the cultural, political and spiritual void that currently exists between the United States and the Arab world can be filled with a few upbeat TV shows might be another symptom of the disease does not seem to have occurred to the great minds behind the show.

Board of Counselors

Just to throw everyone off the scent of Leyalina being an absurd front for US foreign policy propaganda the Honorary Chairman of the Board is President George H. W. Bush, the rest of this essay will look at the board biographically in relation to public diplomacy with a short conclusion at the end:

David Abshire: Special Counselor to President Reagan and the U.S. Ambassador to NATO (1983-1987). Abshire founded the Center for Strategic and International Studies In 1962, and has used it as a centre of public diplomacy with a strong militaristic agenda: public diplomacy is seen here as a tactic of warfare, associated with ‘psychological warfare’ and ‘information operations’ as can be seen here in the iwar.org site and in the many other sources it provides such as US Air Force Doctrine: Psychological Operations, the US: Doctrine for Joint Psychological Operations or the Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on the Creation and Dissemination of All Forms of Information in Support of Psychological Operations (PSYOP) in Time of Military Conflict. The CSIS was co-founded by Ray S. Cline when he was the deputy director of the CIA as the Cuba missile crisis unfolded and Arleigh Burke, founder of Polaris program who had just retired joining Texaco Oil. Official biographies of Burke do not mention that as Chief of Naval Operations, inspired by the Guatemalan operation he planned, commanded and executed the naval aspect of the CIA’s paramilitary invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, or that he was part of the commission to investigate the failure and to consider how the US should conduct similar covert operations in the future. The commission — chaired by General Maxwell Taylor, also included the president’s brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Admiral Arleigh Burke and CIA Director Allen Dulles. The report formed the basis for the ‘resignation’ of the men in charge of the CIA: Dulles, Gen. C.P. Cabell, and Richard Bissell. Burke’s career ended also shortly after when he retired in 1961.

The whiff of sulphur

Time magazine quoted Burke as saying “Mr. Kennedy was a very bad President… He permitted himself to jeopardize the nation.” Through his directorship of Freeport Sulphur (run by an impressive array of directors) there are also suggestions of Burke’s involvement with the Whitney family’s companies’ collaboration with the CIA, their Delaware corporation Kern House Enterprises, housed the CIA front company Forum World Features, a foreign news service used to disperse CIA propaganda around the world. With strong ties to Cuba, contracts would eventually lead Freeport into a 1962 Senate investigation and a confrontation with President Kennedy over the issue of stockpiling strategic materials. Some of this and the company’s (or should that be The Company’s) involvement in Indonesia is out lined in The Politics of Power by Denise Leith, while other sources on the matter tend to stray towards the more conspiratorial Kennedy Assassination side of things, not that we cannot talk about conspiracy when we discuss the CIA. As noted above Burke was also a director of Texaco Oil. Authors who have tried to strip the wilder elements surrounding the assassination to and focus on the type of society it revealed (The Kennedy Assassination Cover-Up
By Donald Gibson
) have outlined that Freeport Sulphur was under the control of the Rockefeller, Stillman-Rockefeller and Whitney families, on the board of Freeport was Augustus Long chairman of Texaco and these inter-locking networks —particularly with the Bankers Trust, Morgan Guaranty Trust and so forth — can still be seen in the make-up of the CSIS’ board. Burke was also involved with the Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation.

Its first fulltime staff member was Richard V. Allen (also with Layalina below). Until 1986, CSIS was affiliated with Georgetown University and an International Relations Center profile

states that:

Timothy S. Healy, president of Georgetown University, examined its affiliate and decided that CSIS was academically somewhat less credible than it claimed to be. Apparently, CSIS has no library, its faculty are seen more often on television than in the classroom (over 4,000 appearances in 1985), and its publications have a reputation (by academic standards) of being superficial. CSIS has been called “a parking lot for former government big shots,” and a “conservative propaganda machine,” particularly for the policies of the Reagan administration. Most CSIS senior fellows do not teach classes, but do draw handsome salaries (up to $70,000). The formal affiliation between Georgetown and CSIS ended on July 1, 1987. An article in the London Tribune quotes a Washington Post article saying that Georgetown severed the relationship because of the strong identification CSIS had with the Reagan administration on arms control, Central America, and South Africa. The University was also disturbed because large contributions to CSIS come from some of the biggest defense contractors.

Layalina uses the offices of CSIS to produce its material as indicated here:

Leon Shahabian, vice president and treasurer, and one of three employees who works on the day-to-day operations in the offices that currently borrow space from CSIS, a think-tank, when he’s not on the road producing a pilot. Mr. Shahabian, who grew up in Beirut, Lebanon but left during the war, said that he joined Layalina as a founding member because he said he felt that Sept. 11 was a defining moment for his generation and he wanted to be part of the solution.

Shahabian was an intern with The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and is now a working group member of the Global Intersections Initiative (GII), a project of Abshire’s Center for the Study of the Presidency. The GII working group was asked by the US Congress to come up with a business plan for the proposed Foundation for International Understanding (FIU), which (according to Fairbank’s radio interview) will assist media providers such as Layalina in future public diplomacy efforts.

This also contains a link to Fairbank’s account of the setting up of Layalina where, when questioned about the board and the response it might get he states that “some politicians are almost like humans” and that the board was “well-rounded” and contained Don Hewitt who was going to teach the Arabs “to do investigative journalism” (as if it was wanted in the US) and the people who watched it didn’t see it as a quasi-government operation but as a “business entity.”

Back in 1980, Abshire was asked by the newly elected president Reagan to head the National Security Group, which included the State and Defense Departments, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency — through these organisations he was instrumental in the propaganda directed against Europe in relation to the siting of various missile bases. Or as he said himself:

Ten years later, as Ambassador to NATO, I saw a well-executed communications strategy change attitudes at a critical phase in history. In the early 1980s, strong popular opposition in three NATO countries threatened to derail our plans to deploy Pershing and cruise missiles in order to counter Soviet SS-20s, which were deployed as part of a Soviet strategy of nuclear blackmail designed to split the alliance. We turned the tide of public opinion with a communications strategy and vigorous diplomacy, supported by the White House and the Congress, and executed through the extraordinary machinery of the United States Information Agency. This campaign helped us turn the corner and start down the road toward the end of the Cold War.

The public were not consulted here — they (or rather their elected representatives and media) were deluded by at times covert and subversive methods by people who were interfering in the politics of another country—and they were doing so via public diplomacy. That deception is the key to all of this is not disputed— it is celebrated as in “Deception.” by Dr. Joseph Caddell, prepared for the Strategic Studies Institute, and many more documents which can be studied at this site. In 2003 Abshire became a leading light in the U.S. Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World . His association with propaganda goes back to his role in reactivated the fading propaganda organisations Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty from extinction. In 1974, he was asked (by Nixon) to become the first chairman of the Board for International Broadcasting. A profile at the Center for the Study of the Presidency (the base of his present propaganda work) informs us of some of the uses of his skills of deluding the public:

In December 1986, at the depths of the Iran-Contra crisis, he was called by President Reagan to leave NATO to serve in his Cabinet and help restore confidence in the Presidency. He coordinated the Tower Board, the Independent Counsel, and the Congressional investigation committees, and often met with the President alone.

Abshire’s autobiography “Saving the Reagan Presidency” informs us on page 22 that these words from Reagan were ‘permanently etched on his mind’:

“David, I want your help in carrying out my commitment to get out all of the facts. There is no holding back through executive privilege. I want to get to the bottom of things. I want to ensure that there will be no cover-up.”

Skip forwards a few pages to page 27 and we have this:

“Vice Admiral Poindexter, had invited Bud Mcfarlane back to work with Oliver North in preparing a chronology. All three had apparently put aside their U.S. naval Academy honor code about truth. They created perhaps more than a dozen versions of a chronology; none were accurate. Their intention was to prepare a version that would best protect the president and the white House, thus wrongly moving the administration into a cover-up.”

Several of Layalina’s advisers were caught up in the Iran/Contra affair, in short, because ‘Project Democracy’ set up be Reagan in the early 80s included public diplomacy work in central and south America including Oliver North’s famous crackpot realism of arming Iran and the right-wing death squads— as well as the European project targeted at subverting the left or subventing elements of the Labour and Social Democrats. It also involved the setting up of the National Endowment for Democracy.

Abshire was an interesting choice in the Iran/Contra affair—a State Dept letter from 1972 has him helping out in the arming of Iran. This ran through the Export-Import Bank which financed the military sales.

Abshire also has an association with the USC Center on Public Diplomacy (the subject of a separate post) which we can also see from their past events. The USC center also includes Charles Z. Wick who also heavily involved in Project Democracy and the US Information Agency. Here Abshire is also involved in moves to use Virtual Worlds and multiplayer online games for US public diplomacy. Of late Abshire has been rounding up the troops with his attempts at exchange programmes — in public diplomacy terms this is the basis for gathering agents as it were to toe the US’ line via NATO. The Europe Exchange Program on the American Presidential Transition is a venture emanating from his (and some of the others named below such as Berman) role since 2004, with the Center for the Study of the Presidency this aims to work “with senior decision-makers in the United States and Europe to address disconnects between the EU, NATO and the G8.” This is funded by The German Marshall Fund of the United States, of which Abshire is a trustee as stated here in another exchange venture, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, again tied in with US public diplomacy efforts, which includes a group of London Officers comprised of the usual melange of lobbyists, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) members (such as Dr Michael Williams who “worked in the Political Section of the US Embassy in London and in the office of US Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr.” and is the Head of the Transatlantic Security Programme at RUSI. Influential speakers here include Christopher Coker who was part of the UK Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies which laundered Abshire’s propaganda in the UK back in the 1980s and was part of the steering group of the British American Project for a Successor Generation which aimed to steer the Labour party towards a pro-US line and contributed to the creation of ‘New Labour.’ In the UK this was initiated with the assistance of the Duke of Westminster, Admiral Cobbold, Jonathan Eyal, Sandra Bell, and Mark Joyce of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies , Antony Phillipson, the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and Francois Heisbourg and Daniel Keohane, both from the Centre for European Reform. The project works through organisations such as NATO’s Security Through Science (a public diplomacy effort) and the North Atlantic Council and (through a grant from the Richard Lounsbery Foundation run by Abshire), the Royal United Services Institute initiated a project in late 2004 with the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique entitled “Science and Technology for a Transforming Alliance.” The report (page 32) also adds:

The CSP [Center for The Study of the Presidency] Project Team plans to partner with Etienne Davignon, chairman of the Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels and the Bilderberg Group, to convene small senior roundtables that make recommendations for official groups to examine NATO-EUG8 coordination in the war on terror. Involvement of the NATO Secretary General, the President of the European Commission, and the head of the 2005 UK G8 Presidency would help foster unity of effort, maximize respective contributions, and diminish institutional duplication.

It is not often one sees mention of the Bilderberg Group (see Zbigniew Brzezinski below) but here we have a mention of it denuded of its ‘neutral forum’ mask. The report also adds:

CSP, in conjunction with the “Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy to the Arab and Muslim World,” has recommended the formation of a White House strategic communications architecture and creation of a non-profit Foundation for International Understanding to improve U.S. global communication, particularly among NATO Allies and its growing number of Middle East partners. CSP will help the Foundation’s advisory board shape programming to specifically target German youth. Both efforts will directly impact how the U.S. communicates policy affecting the transatlantic relationship and will seek to positively influence U.S. and European public opinion in the coming year.

The CSP website also tells us that it was part of the Iraq Study Group (ISG) and that Abshire played a key role in this together with other Layalina directors and Abshire’s CSIS.

In December 2005, as casualties in Iraq steadily rose and domestic support declined, Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) called CSP President David Abshire to discuss the establishment of a “Fresh Eyes on Iraq” Task Force, which evolved into the Iraq Study Group (ISG). In the critical, formative stages of this independent commission, CSP worked with two other non-partisan think tanks – the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) – to plan and organize the ISG. They began by recruiting former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former 9/11 Commission Co-Chair and retired Congressman Lee Hamilton to serve as co-chairs. With USIP providing overall coordination and administration and with the membership of the Baker Institute at Rice University, representatives from each institution met regularly to establish the formal framework for the ISG.

This also tells us that:

In June of 2006, senior CSP leaders and former Ambassador Gary Matthews of USIP traveled to Europe to consult with allies and to evaluate support for the effort in Iraq. Meeting with senior officials in the British government, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the European Union, CSP reported back to the ISG on these efforts in July 2006. Over the spring and summer, the ISG and members of the EWGs met with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rice, Secretary Rumsfeld, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Peter Pace.

As can be imagined in the mirror-image reversed world of public diplomacy the the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is staffed by people like Elspeth Davies Rostow, wife of US war monger-in-chief Walt Rostow. The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) was created in 1984 by President Reagan and we will examine it in a little bit more detail below. Previous directors have included Chester A. Crocker who, in 1976, was a director of Abshire’s Center for Strategic and International Studies and more recently with the Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion (set up by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2006) and, judging by the line-up, this seems an offshoot of the National Endowment for Democracy, with ties to organisation which are part of the NED ‘family,’ such as the international Republican Institute, Freedom House and International Foundation for Election Systems. It is run by Carl Gershman (the President of the NED) and John Vincent (Vin) Weber (chairman of the board of the NED). Weber is part of the peace loving Project for the New American Century and a member of Board of Trustees of the German Marshall Fund along with Abshire. Weber, a so-called “superlobbyist,” is another example of the confluence of PR, lobbying and covert intelligence in public diplomacy. Another good example of this is the Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion’s Clifford D. May the President of the far-right The Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Chairman of the Policy Committee of the Committee on the Present Danger May was part of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group of the United States Institute of Peace, and Senior Managing Director in the Washington, D.C. office of Weber Shandwick — what a small world these people inhabit and how it influences the size of their minds also encompasses history —which of course their Project for the New American Century colleague Francis Fukuyama put an end to — The Committee on the Present Danger is a re-run of its former incarnation as a Cold War anti-Soviet group, resurrected in 2004 by much the same neo-conservatives who were members of the re-formed in 1976 version, and its origins go back to 1950 and the birth of the cold war and again another key figure here is Eugene V. Rostow. The revitalization of the CPD grew out of the group called Team B and again we could trace these links and connections as researchers have been doing for some time now even in the fairly mainstream media— such as this from Gregg Easterbrook back in 1986 for the Atlantic Monthly. This documents the budget increases for think tanks such as The American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies as wealthy right-wing foundations representing Richard Mellon Scaife, Joseph Coors, and the Olin Chemical and Smith Richardson pharmaceutical fortunes began to dedicate themselves to influencing politics. For Easterbrook a turning point for the movement’s world view was George Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty, (absurdly given its premise) funded through the new think-tank network and published just as Reagan won in 1980 and offering a new vocabulary for market thinking, learning to frame its ideas in terms of the “greater good.” :

Adam Smith, he said, had it wrong. Capitalism isn’t a voodoo through which many selfish acts inexplicably advance the whole. It’s a magnanimous organism in which everybody wants the best for everybody else—since, after all, one person cannot prosper selling his product unless many others are prosperous enough to buy. Big tax cuts, Gilder said, will trigger an outburst of altruism.

This included the now wearily familiar ‘market mechanisms to help the poor’ and a religious twist:

Just as a former drunkard who beat his wife and stole from the collection plate will be the star of any revival meeting, so reformed liberals became the headliners at many conservative get-togethers. Conservatives wanted to win not just elections but hearts and minds. For public-policy impact, intellectuals and journalists make prime converts, because there is nothing (at least nothing obvious) in it for them. All manner of lobbyists, some even lapsed Democrats, were running around Washington preaching capital formation and market magic, but who believed them? […] By establishing think tanks, conservatism could acquire the same sheen of detachment. The beauty of it all was that thinkers come cheaper than lobbyists.

The motivation for these thinkers is very simple:

“Getting a high-level job “is what you live for in a think tank,” says Lawrence Korb, formerly of the Defense Department and now an executive of Raytheon Corporation. “Talk centers on it obsessively.” Korb notes that think-tank personnel make good appointees partly because they are eagerly available.

The article also highlighted the absurdity of these think tanks calling themselves “nonpartisan” because the “tax laws require this charade”, when in practice they are actively aligned with the Administration and more feral right-wing activities in many cases cited above and below. Easterbrook also points out that CSIS’s output in the press and on TV dominates and sets the agenda on whatever comes under the rubric of ‘terrorism’, running an ‘alert system’ that creates instant access to former officials who are presumed to have inside information, and that “some of the media return the favor: The New York Times and NBC News are among CSIS’s financial supporters”. Easterbrook also highlights the small nature of the movement:

“The whole transformation of conservative philosophy was really begun by just a handful of people,” Michael Horowitz says, and he names Richard Larry, the grant director for the Sarah Scaife Foundation; Michael Joyce, the grant director for the Olin Foundation; and Leslie Lenkowsky, who once controlled grant awards for the Smith Richardson Foundation and moved to AEI after his nomination as deputy director of the U.S. Information Agency fell through because he became embroiled in the conflict over the agency’s blacklisting of liberal speakers. “They understood that just by funding a few writers and a few chairs they could make a breakthrough.” Scaife and Olin are principal donors to Heritage, CSIS, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Cato, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, The American Spectator magazine, the Committee on the Present Danger, the Manhattan Institute, the Capital Legal Foundation, the Reason Foundation, and other new conservative think tanks and foundations. Walter Williams–whose recent book The State Against Blacks contains such nuggets as “Discrimination may be defined as an act of choice based upon utility maximization”—Irving Kristol, the conservative criminologist Ernest van den Haag, and Richard McKenzie, a rising young market economist affiliated with Heritage and Cato, all hold John M. Olin chairs at their universities.

And he also outlines he regularity with which the same thinkers’ names appear on think-tank rosters and its remarkable regularity with which Scaife and Olin are listed as donors. The quote should be a bit out of date today, but it isn’t and provides us with the continuity of the group. He asks the question which we can now answer:

The recurrence of the same names makes it fair to ask if what appears to be a conservative intellectual groundswell is really just multiple manifestations of one phenomenon. Perhaps twenty years must pass before this question can be answered fully, but a reasonable guess is no.

In the context of Abshire’s European public diplomacy venture he states that Edwin Feulner, of Heritage, and Abshire, once served together as aides to Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird; and that the analyst Jonathan Stein lost his job at CSIS several months after he published a book highly critical of Star wars, the study of which is worth millions to think tanks that toe the line. CSIS denied there was any connection, yet this was the main plank of what figures such as Godson and the The Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies (funded by Heritage) which in 1982 included Richard V. Allen (CSIS and now with Layalina) and Frank Shakespeare (who worked with Charles Z. Wick via USIA turning it into a propaganda organ for the Reagan regime via the Special Planning Group for Public Diplomacy). The article mentions some of the names of those involved with the CSIS in the 80s including the ‘authors’ Walter Laqueur, Michael Ledeen and the military analyst Edward Luttwak; all three of whom are are closely involved with the terrorism industry and anti-left covert operations while based at CSIS. Edward Herman and Gerry O’ Sullivan’s The “Terrorism Industry”: which explored the nexus of private sector, institutes, think tanks and lobbying organisations in much more depth, and also mentions (page 81-85) Robert Moss working for CSIS — Moss was also involved in the European end of ‘public diplomacy’. And what with Ledeen, Abshire and many more working together in concert here we can view CSIS as having a key co-ordinating role here:

CSIS organized a conference on the Red threat to Italy, which was held just before the Italian elections of 1976. The panel included William Colby and Ray Cline, both from the CIA; John Connally, a member of the Foreign Intelligence Oversight Board; Clare Booth Luce, former ambassador to Italy; and Claire Sterling. The composition of this group points up CSIS’s close ties to government, its “action” mission, and its lack of connection to anything resembling objective scholarship. To this group, the Italian scene presented a “national security” threat to the United States and called for forceful intervention.’ One day after the CSIS conference, an article coauthored by Sterling and Ledeen, entitled “Italy’s Russian Sugar Daddies,’ appeared in the ‘New Republic’, claiming that the Soviets were secretly funding the Italian Communist party through a network of import-export businesses. This essay, reprinted in the CIA-funded ‘Rome Daily American’ and in ‘II Borghese’, the official organ of the neofascist Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI), was distributed to reporters from the United States at the request of the U.S. embassy. It served to divert attention from the fact that the United States itself was secretly funding centrist and right-wing parties in a massive interventionary operation.

For Herman and O’ Sullivan CSIS have been an activist propaganda agency in two senses. It provides propaganda closely geared to establishment and right-wing political demands. It is another example of the revolving door between CSIS and the U.S. intelligence agencies or as Fred Landis put it an “ivory tower for old spooks”. CSIS staff include a number of front-line operatives in political work and policy making. It is interesting (given his representation in his autobiography of himself as dispassionate) that Abshire (an ambassador and media liaison worker for the government) has such a close relation with Ledeen (a go-between in the Iran-contra affair) and Ray Cline who had strong ties to World Anti-Communist League and far-right governments that have been active participants in the terrorism during the 70s and 80s.

Cline was also deeply involved in Bush’s political drive in 1980, in which “active duty agents of the Central Intelligence Agency worked for the Bush political campaign” (according to an affidavit of intelligence veteran Angelo Codevilla), in violation of the Hatch Act.

Now let us turn to quickly examine the US Institute for peace (bearing in mind, as Easterbrook’s essay reminds us, that Irving Kristol complained that ‘Peace’ has become “a Stalinist word”) On the money side of things he has previously served on the boards of British Petroleum-America and the Proctor and Gamble Company.

Richard V. Allen: served as President Ronald Reagan’s chief foreign policy adviser from 1977 to 1980 and served as his first national security adviser from 1981 to 1982. Allen was Abshire’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) first senior staff analyst and research principal from 1963 to 1966, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1983, together with Dr. Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., Allen founded the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center and has served as its chairman since then. he is also a member of the Project for the New American Century, National Security Council, Committee for a Free World, Committee on the Present Danger, Council for National Policy, Council on Foreign Relations, Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, International Crisis Group Advisory Council, American Center for Democracy and the religious crusade the Knights of Malta.

George Argyros: Ranked 562 among The World’s Richest People In 2006, Billionaire Argyros is a Center for Strategic & International Studies Trustee and the humorously named Billionaire/Ambassador club Americans for Truth in Politics. Argyros served as U.S. ambassador to Spain from 2001-2004, and is said, through working with King Juan Carlos and President Jose Maria Aznar, to have put through Spain’s support and participation in ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.’

Thomas Ludlow Ashley: A New York Times article tells us:

At Yale, when George Bush was “Poppy” and Thomas William Ludlow Ashley was “Lud,” they began their lifelong friendship. When Mr. Bush began his first oil exploration company, Mr. Ashley was an investor. When the Bush children arrived, Mr. Ashley bounced them on his knees. And after George Bush became President and his son son Neil ran afoul of Federal regulatory agencies, Mr. Ashley was there with advice.

The rest of the article relates Ashley’s expertise in guiding Neil Bush through his troubled times when he ripped off just about everybody in the US in the savings and loans fiasco. After advising Neil on what (and what not) to say Ashley a “member of the the House Banking Committee and is now president of the Association of Bank Holding Companies, which represents the nation’s largest banks, including Citicorp, Manufacturers Hanover and Morgan Guaranty. Helped Bring a Light Penalty.” The lightest penalty that could have been imposed as it happens. And Ashley also winkled Neil out of the Silverado mess. As regards the spookwork and public diplomacy in 1952 he joined the staff of Radio Free Europe, serving in Europe as Co-Director of the press section and later as assistant director of special projects.

James Baker III: Senior counsel to the Carlyle Group and Chief legal adviser for George W. Bush during the 2000 election campaign, Baker even ‘oversaw’ the Florida recount, making damn sure. Baker should need no introduction and his ‘Troops Out, Oil Companies In’ approach is most likely reflected in Layalina. His institute will set you straight on any of the vicious tittle-tattle which portrays him as anything other than a Übermensch: such as the stuff on Baker’s law firm, Baker Botts, the legal council defending the Saudi Arabian government in a lawsuit filed by families of those killed and injured in the 9/11 attacks. Or all that guff in the Village Voice about him being one of the main Bush-Cheney cronies trying to divvy up the spoils in Iraq with connections to Enron; and axe-grinder Naomi Klein’s futile diatribe in the Nation about whether President Bush appointment of Baker as his envoy on Iraq’s debt on 2003, which he called “a noble mission,” had any conflict with Baker’s extensive business dealings in the Middle East. Of course it wouldn’t — then it wouldn’t be a noble mission (can she not read or something!), and why is she exposing ‘secret deals’ and ‘confidential sixty-five-page Proposals’ —what a peeping Tom! One would also remind her that Baker was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom: so he is entitled to do whatever he wants with countries and such like. And if she thinks he’s making money out of war how then do we reconcile the fact that he is a member of The United States Institute of Peace! Aren’t people listening to all this expensive public diplomacy? Baker also slums it at the Council on Foreign Relations and is an Honorary Director, Atlantic Council of the United States.

Samuel Berger: Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs during President Clinton’s first term in office, chairman of the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council, the sub-Cabinet interagency group charged with coordination of foreign policy. Prior to his service in the Clinton Administration, Berger practiced law with the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson where he was a partner and headed the firm’s international trade group. Berger pled guilty to illegally removing classified documents from the National Archives and received (for him) a peanut sized fine, and the case is riddled with all manner of accusations of espionage — a CNN report states:

“Law enforcement sources said archive staff members told FBI agents they saw Berger placing items in his jacket and pants, and one archive staffer told agents that Berger also placed something in his socks.”

Berger says he “made an honest mistake”, presumably mistaking himself for a briefcase. Berger was designated as the official from the Clinton administration who would review documents relevant to 9/11 commission inquiries into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Berger is Co-Chairman and co-founder of Stonebridge International, LLC which has a particularly strong focus on Asia, Russia and Central Asia and the Middle East. Its advisory board connect up to James Baker’s Iraq Study Group, Philip Morris and The Blackstone Group. And what would they be stuffing into their socks there one wonders? The categories in Stonebridge’s pop-up menu for what they do are : Government Relations, Investment Assistance, Market Access, Regulatory Strategy, Dispute Resolution. Berger resignation was called for over the ‘China nuclear scandal’ when he turned a blind eye to China’s nuclear espionage. Their site case studies include this:

Our client, a large U.S. association sought to engage China’s senior leadership on financial sector reform by hosting a high-level conference in-country. However, the association had a limited relationship with stakeholders in China and lacked the capacity to organize a conference in China.

Was it Confucius who said ‘one good turn deserves another’? But Berger cannot be bought. You can hire him to tell you this from the Washington Speaker’s Bureau. Stonebridge also work with Civitas on ‘Homeland Security.’ As regards the Middle-East Stonebridge boast that its work includes:

Helping secure U.S. and Iraqi government support for a notable energy investment in Iraq. Assisted a leading defense company with market access strategies in the Persian Gulf, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Wayne Berman: Berman has an interesting Muckety Mapand is involved in The Center for the Study of the Presidency with Abshire above. Berman is a principal of the Federalist Group lobbying firm and a lobbyist for ChevronTexaco. Like many of the Layalina gang Berman is a “Bush ‘Ranger,’ having raised at least $200,000 for the president’s campaign —the ticket to ride. And he is also part of the Center for Strategic and International Studies as well as the Center for the Study of the Presidency. Berman and his wife operate a slick lobbying operation, the Washington Post tells us (in not so much journalism as a love bite):

In 2000, they purchased the four-story Washington home of the late philanthropist Paul Mellon for $4.5 million. The Bermans allowed the 13,000-square-foot residence on Embassy Row to be used as the National Symphony Orchestra’s annual decorator’s showhouse, then moved in next to neighbors such as Sen. Hillary Clinton and architect Leo Daly and began hosting low-key dinner parties and political fundraisers with guests such as Vice President Cheney and White House Chief of Staff Andy Card. Her formula: “You invite them into your home, find ways to please them, make them relax, introduce people who may have similar interests who they haven’t met before,” she says.

Now that Bush is finishing up Berman has switched to McCain, but his position as a top adviser has come under some scrutiny in relation to his work for a ‘notorious lender in the mortgage meltdown’. According to The Daily News

John Green, the senator’s chief liaison to Congress, and Wayne Berman, his national finance co-chairman, billed more than $720,000 in lobbying fees from 2005 through last year to Ameriquest Mortgage through their lobbying firm.

Well the money has to come from somewhere, and it has to go somewhere too. ‘Bush Watch’ tell us:

“…the “Washington Post” published a story about Bush “top fund-raiser” Wayne Berman, president of Park Strategies LLC in Connecticut, whose activities are being looked at by the FBI. One such activity has $50 million in state pension funds being invested through Park Strategies into a Carlyle Group fund.”

This also tells us that “Berman charged the Carlyle Group more than $900,000 for helping it land tens of millions in pension investments” from “Connecticut ex-treasurer [Paul] Silvester pleaded guilty to felony charges of racketeering and conspiracy as a result of federal charges of personal and campaign funding kickbacks.”

Reginald Brack: former chairman and chief executive officer of dioxin-laden Time Inc. and like everyone else here a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is their such a role as a ‘don’t trustee’? Brack was part of ‘George Bush for President’ and is now part of ‘Obama for America.’

Zbigniew Brzezinski: of the Bilderberg Group, International Crisis Group, the first director of the Trilateral Commission, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Peace Direct, Freedom House, New Atlantic Initiative and of course a CSIS counselor and trustee. Most biographies on ZB say something like “During the 1960s Brzezinski acted as an adviser to Kennedy and Johnson administration officials. Generally taking a hard line on policy toward the Soviet Union,” as if there was any money be made taking a ‘soft line’ in those days — except of course for spying or pretending to be a communist — yes you must make sure what side someone is on — right. His CSIS biography tells us that after being national security adviser to Jimmy Carter he was:

the National Security Council–Defense Department Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy (1987–1988), and the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1987–1989). In 1988, he was co-chairman of the Bush National Security Advisory Task Force, and in 2004, he was co-chairman of a Council on Foreign Relations task force that issued the report Iran: Time for a New Approach.

Well it’s important to take bi-partisan approach, but having said that people should speak their minds and ZB occasionally does now that it doesn’t matter as with this speech in 2007 telling us all the war in Iraq is a bit of a mess, saying:

“Initially justified by false claims about WMD’s in Iraq, the war is now being redefined as the “decisive ideological struggle” of our time…”

you would not have seen him leap in front of Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN (the one with all the drawings of bad guys), elbow him out they way and say: “I’ve got the presidential medal of Freedom and this entitles me to say this is a load of crap.” Not that he is for terrorism or would countenance offering financial support of terrorists. Well, not now anyway — look what happened when he tried it back in the 80’s as in this report from 1985 which said that “Guerrillas” in Afghanistan were about to get money from the United States government for a public relations campaign intended to bring their struggle against Soviet troops to the world’s attention:

“It is the goal of this project to facilitate the collection, development and distribution of credible, objective and timely professional-quality news stories, photographs and television images about developments in Afghanistan,” said a notice in the Federal Register. The program will be overseen by Uncle Sam’s own propaganda arm, the U.S. Information Agency. Congress appropriated $500,000 to hire experts and may provide more later. In making the money available, Congress all but instructed USIA to consider an organization like Friends of Afghanistan, a new group whose board includes former Carter administration national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, known for hard-line anti-Soviet views.”

Friends of Afghanistan included Lawrence Eagleburger, below. The National Security Archive located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. also has a little mention of ‘Public Diplomacy’ in this context.

John Chapoton

Lawrence Eagleburger: The man who replaced Donald Rumsfeld, the last time around, also Halliburton Company, Atlantic Institute, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and much else.

Richard Fairbanks: A Middle-east ‘peace’ negotiator during the Reagan administration, Committee on the Present Danger and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Tarek Abdul-Meguid: quit Morgan Stanley two years ago to help set up Perella Weinberg Partners LP. An Irish-Egyptian, he was instrumental in “securing the boutique investment bank’s $1 billion start-up capital“.

Fred Fielding: Associate Counsel for President Richard Nixon from 1970-1972, where he was the deputy to John Dean during Watergate. Fred was also the ‘Counsel to the President’ for President Ronald Reagan from 1981-1986. With some poetic irony he is senior partner and head of Wiley, Rein, & Fielding’s Government Affairs, Business & Finance, Litigation and Crisis Management/White Collar Crime Practices. he was on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (which explains what happened) until its closure. Once the appointments were made it slowly emerged over the next several months that at least six of the ten commissioners have ties to the airline industry including Fred. Back in the Nixon era it was tapes that went missing now its emails. He also served as clearance counsel during the Bush-Cheney Presidential Transition. On serving as Ronald Reagan’s White House counsel, in a 2004 interview with Legal Times, Fielding said, “If there were mistakes made, or if there were problems that arose, they were dealt with right away. That, to me, was the essence of my job.” That’s an ‘if’ the size of Texas. This also adds that “One of the things he brings is an ability to tell the president of the United States straight talk,” says Ken Duberstein, President Reagan’s White House chief of staff. That vwould seem to disqualify him for working for a lie factory like Layalina. But several reports on Fred say he’s good at keeping secrets and dealing with the uglier side of politics, so why put him on a commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks. The Nixon Archives have an interesting little scrap on Fred in Box 41 in Chile, “[ITT] Fred Fielding, Eyes Only.” Fred recently argued that “executive branch confidentiality interests” meant that the Whitehouse could refuse to provide documents when it saw fit, so he is hardly the man to prize open the US government on 9/11.

Marc Ginsberg: FOX News’s Senior Global Affairs Analyst, Senior Vice President of war profiteers APCO Worldwide and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (see below).

Lee Herbert Hamilton: the vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, currently serves on the Homeland Security Advisory Council. Hamilton was chair of the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, but chose not to investigate Reagan or Layalina’s top man George H. W. Bush, saying that he did not think it would be “good for the country,” thus George and Ronnie were ‘out the loop’. Hamilton is part of the Iraq Study Group, organized by the United States Institute of Peace, of which Hamilton is the co-chair, along with Layalina’s James Baker. He has ‘sat on’ quite a few commissions over the years: as Chairman of the October Surprise Task Force; Chairman, Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran; Member, House Standards of Official Conduct Committee; Member, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council; Vice-Chairman, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States; Co-chairman, Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future; Commissioner, Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform; Member, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; co-chair, Iraq Study Group. And every time the US has emerged squeaky clean(ish). He also sits on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, the FBI Director’s Advisory Board, the CIA Director’s Economic Intelligence Advisory Panel, the Defense Secretary’s National Security Study Group, and the US Department of Homeland Security Task Force on Preventing the Entry of Weapons of Mass Effect on American Soil.

Don Hewitt: In 1999, Hewitt was honored with the ‘Spirit of Liberty Award’ from the ‘People for the American Way Foundation’, most likely for his work with CBS’ ’60 minutes’ (not counting the advert) programme. In this spirit of crusading journalism we might ask ‘who are they’, and the investigation would lead to their board and Norman Lear and from there to The Norman Lear Center at USC which is engaged in “exploring implications of the convergence of entertainment, commerce and society” which includes figures such as Manuel Castells and Geoffrey Cowan of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy (the subject of a separate post) and the two are part of Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg’s bequest in 1993 when he gave $120 million to create the USC Annenberg Center for Communication part of which is the Center on Public Diplomacy is a joint academic research, teaching and training center created by Annenberg’s money. So who’s he? According to his wiki entry “It was Annenberg who introduced President Reagan to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the Reagans often celebrated New Year’s Eve with the Annenbergs”. Nancy and Ronald Reagan traditionally spent Christmas Eve with their good friends Mary Jane and Charles Wick one of the designers of Project Democracy, now with the USC centre for Public Diplomacy. Annenberg was the US Ambassador to the UK from 1969 to 1974, fateful years for US influence on UK and European politics and Grosvenor Square was the centre of operations. Now no longer with us some obituaries had him down as “Billionaire Son of Mobster, Enemy of Journalism, and Nixon Toady” (that gets a lot worse). It does read like a excerpt from Once Upon a Time in America crossed with Citizen Kane. Perhaps he could have been the subject of a 60 minutes documentary. Some recently released documents have shown Annenberg’s help to his ‘soul mate’ Richard Nixon:

In his memo, Annenberg said the ongoing press criticism of Nixon “turns my stomach” and suggested counterattacking with a supplement that could be sold at newsstands titled “The Conspiracy Against Richard Nixon.” He said it was “the kind of thing I could easily print in my rotogravure department — lot of photographs.” “This has to be a gloves off, rough and tumble job,” Annenberg emphasized. “The only way you can do this is to go after the principles [sic] themselves — Kay Graham [publisher of The Washington Post], [Arthur Ochs] Sulzberger [publisher of the New York Times], Otis Chandler [publisher of the Los Angeles Times], Andrew Heiskell [chairman of Time Inc.].”

And when columnist Jack Anderson was writing about an ITT effort to block Salvador Allende’s election as president of Chile:

“Life Magazine is desperate,” Annenberg charged. “You have to go after Heiskell and the others. . . . Anderson is really engaging in treasonable activities.”

Carla Hills : Counselor and Trustee, Center for Strategic and International Studies and her CEO of own organisation called Hills & Company, described as ‘International Consultants. Hills was U.S. trade representative from 1989 to 1993, and advised ex-President George H.W. on international trade policy, exploiting these contacts Hills & Co. say:

In seeking to bring about policy change in a foreign country or region on behalf of a client, the firm works with the client on a comprehensive approach to […] persuade key figures in the public and private sectors in a foreign market to take the steps necessary to accomplish the client’s objectives.

Other principals are former ambassadors and include Thomas P. Pickering, now with Boeing, formerly US ambassador to several countries (Russia, Israel, El Salvador, and led the US coalition to start the first Gulf war and Roderick M Hills who runs the Hills Program on Governance at the CSIS. The companies they represent are Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Bechtel, Boeing, financial and energy, development companies and banks. What they obtain for the client is a reduction in taxes, reduction in tarifs, placing specific services negotiations in organisations such as Doha, influence on how customs classifies certain products, exculpate the effect of sanctions, gaining “investment incentives” ans “expedited approvals.” To grease the wheels as it were she Chairs the National Committee on US-China Relations and of the Inter-American Dialogue; and the Executive Committees of vehicles such as the Institute for International Economics and of the Trilateral Commission; and the US-China Business Council. Both Pickering and Hills are with the The International Crisis Group (more advise to government there) a ‘private group’ of elite wealthy managers funded by money from several government’s international aid budgets.

Henry Kissinger

Maura Morey

Sam Nunn

Paul Russo

James Schlesinger

Brent Scowcroft

George Shultz: Atlantic Council of the United States, Committee on the Present Danger

Damaris Skouras

Jeffrey Smulyan

Carl Spielvogel

Robert Strauss

John Whitehead: Committee on the Present Danger

Frederick Whittemore

Daniel Yergin

Ezra Zilkha

‘Yonder stands your orphan with his gun’

Richard Fairbanks was the founder and Chairman of the Board of Layalina and his foundation gave it $1,000,000 in support. He is also a Counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he was previously President and CEO. During the Reagan Administration, Fairbanks served as Assistant Secretary of State, Special Negotiator for the Middle East Peace Process, and Ambassador-at-Large. He was also Associate Director of the White House Domestic Counsel for Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources under President Nixon. Fairbanks serves on the Board of Directors of SEACOR Holdings, Inc., a multi-national company that owns and operates marine and aviation assets primarily servicing the oil and gas industry worldwide — SEACOR Marine, for instance, operates “the world’s second largest fleet of offshore marine support vessels… servicing the global offshore oil and gas exploration and production industry”. Their Seabulk tankers, are an international petroleum and chemical shipping empire responsible for moving over 8 million tons of crude a year. Fairbanks also works for the GATX Corporation (again in the Shipping & Marine sector) and he was a founding partner of Beveridge and Diamond, P.C. who are Attorneys with three main practice groups: Environmental Law, Land Use, and Litigation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Council of American Ambassadors. The potential threat to international business interests is a key reason for the concern to contribute to ‘public diplomacy’ operations. According to Emmanuel Evita Firms and non-profits try diplomacy partnerships, such as the Transatlantic Business Dialogue, are adopting “a proactive approach to head off the impact of anti-Americanism to their bottom lines in the long term”. Jeffery Werner, chairman of the TABD stated:

“The Transatlantic Business Dialogue is not looking to replace what the government does — the state does diplomacy —we are just looking to provide industry input (where damaged political relationships might affect industry).”

Other earlier public diplomacy efforts include America Abroad Media started by Aaron Lobel, a former research fellow at the Brookings Institution, who formed AAM shortly after the 9-11 attacks. Lobel believes that ‘non-partisan, non-government organizations’ have the credibility government initiatives lack. Keith Reinhard, runs Business for Diplomatic Action featured in the Economist (who have co-sponsored some of Lobel’s radio programs) for its efforts to use private industry for “out-recruiting bin Laden” and addressing anti-Americanism (or un-Americanism) abroad. Layalina are taking the ‘reality TV’ approach but their list of advisors suggests that ‘soft power’ is intimately connected to business interests?

“… Crying like a fire in the sun”

Fairbanks uses the old Vietnam war public diplomacy/soft power term “winning hearts and minds” to title a work on the Middle-east (to a Yale audience) that argues anachronistically that the undercover subversion is the provenance of jihadists:

“The first “soft power” hints of the war first appeared on popular Arab satellite networks and websites where jihadists vowed to destroy the American way of life, one seen to interfere with their ultimate goal: establishing an Islamic caliphate to rule over the Muslim world. Over the last decade, sedate, controlled, and state-sponsored media have been replaced by satellite TV and the world wide web. These new media, which provide a de facto means of breaching traditional government controls, provide pan-Arab vehicles that jihadists exploit to appeal to their would-be followers — millions of disenchanted, unemployed or underemployed young Arabs under thirty —which constitute 70 percent of the population of the Arab world. More than three and a half years after the September 11 attacks and the start of the War on Terror, the United States still chases after terrorists, denying them the refuge they have enjoyed in such regions as formerly Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. In the battle of ideas, the US is deploying the very same tools first used by the jihadists: soft power.”

Fairbanks’ article provides an insight into what the US is countering the opinions of its adversaries with: “mostly entertainment programming interspersed with short news briefs.” In reference to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the U.S. entity in charge of all international non-military broadcasts, which runs Radio Sawa (Arabic for “together”) and the Al-Hurra (“the free one”) news, he provides evidence of how the US soft power deals with difficult political issues:

“The State Department also launched Hi magazine in July 2003, an Arabic lifestyle and fashion monthly that steers clear of political issues.”

For Fairbanks:

“This crucial task of providing a different view of our country and its people is too important to be left only to government. In order to reach the over 200 million-strong audience in 22 Arab countries, public diplomacy initiatives must be available on the indigenous media that the people of the region regularly watch.”

But what has Layalina actually produced to vanquish the US’s enemies?

“The George Washington University will show an advance screening of On the Road in America, a reality travelogue series produced by Layalina Productions in association with Visionaire Media featuring the three Arab university students during a 10 week road trip on their first visit across the United States. “

Members of an Advisory Group steered by Ed Djerejian on ‘Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World’ (which published its report ‘Changing Minds, Winning Peace’ in 2003) notes that the US has a ‘lack of a strategic focus for communicating foreign policy.’ David M. Abshire President of the offered this testimony:

“Although the Discovery Channel and other quality stations have operations abroad, too many of America’s commercial media exports are low-quality products, such as reruns of Dallas and even pornography, because they are inexpensive and readily available.”

The Advisory Group report “calls for the creation of a grant-making organization that would fund the production and export of quality television and radio.” They think that Layalina Productions, “illustrates the creative potential that America’s private sector can bring to bear on this challenge.” Or in other words: “who says you can’t put ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag.”

Board of Directors We turn now to examine the Directors on Layalina, one those we have already noted i’ll add a bit more detail:

The Honorable George L. Argyros: As mentioned Argyros is the billionaire Chairman and CEO of Arnel & Affiliates, a diversified investment company based in California and General Partner of Westar Capital, a private investment company. Argyros was also a former member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations for the U.S. Trade Representative. President Jose Maria Aznar who he negotiated with was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of News Corporation. Aznar’s party was voted out of power after his government disgracefully blamed the 2004 Madrid bombings on Basque separatists when Islamic extremists had in fact committed the atrocities in which 191 people died. so much for public diplomacy. Prior to his ambassadorship, he was a member of the board of Rockwell International Corporation and Newhall Land and Farming Company. Rockwell sold its former aerospace and defense businesses to The Boeing Company in 1996, previously it had been one of five companies in the United States supplying the federal government with military aircraft fighters and bombers during the 1990s. Its predecessor company North American, built more airplanes for the U.S. military than any other company during the war years. North American became involved in the development of rockets, guidance systems, and atomic energy. It created Rocketdyne, Autonetics, and Atomics International as new divisions to pursue research in those individual fields: much of its rocket and missile technology was acquired from captured German data. Argyros is on the Board of Directors for First American Corporation; DST Systems, Inc.; Doskocil Manufacturing Company; and Igloo Products Corp. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Beckman Foundation; Board Member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Founding Chairman for the Nixon Center; Horatio Alger Association. In the 1980s, Argyros was co-owner of AirCal. He has also served as a board member of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FreddieMac).

The Honorable Thomas Ludlow Ashley: as stated Ashley joined the staff of Radio Free Europe (RFE), serving in Europe as Co-Director of the press section and later as assistant director of special projects, resigning March 1, 1954. RFE was a broadcasting organization established in 1950 with the original purpose of broadcasting news to countries behind the “Iron Curtain” during the cold war. In 1975, it was merged with Radio Liberty. (RL), a similar enterprise that broadcast to the nations inside the Soviet Union. RFE receives most of its funding from the U.S. Congress. Until 1971, the funds were channeled through the CIA; since that time the funds have been received in the form of grants through the Broadcasting Board of Governors of the U.S. Information Agency, mentioned above. The collapse of the USSR brought about changes including budget cuts and the relocation of headquarters from Munich, Germany, to Prague, the Czech Republic, in 1995. Broadcasts are now sent to E and SE Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Middle East. For back ground to this see here. While in Congress he served as Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy (Ad Hoc) (Ninety-fifth Congress) and of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries (Ninety-sixth Congress). In 1981, he founded and became the president of a legal and congressional consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Ashley is also a director and trustee of The George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, along with Jeb and Neil Bush.

The Honorable John E. Chapoton: Has been a partner of Brown Advisory, an investment firm. Prior to 2000, he was the managing partner of the Washington office of the Vinson & Elkins law firm. From 1981 to 1984, during the first term of President Reagan, Chapoton served as Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy of the U.S. Treasury Department. He is a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Association’s Tax Section (former Vice Chair) and a Fellow of the American college of Tax Counsel (former Regent). In addition to Layalina, Chapoton serves on the Boards of Saul Centers, Inc. and StanCorp Financial.

Ambassador Walter L. Cutler: Career U.S. Foreign Service Officer. He was twice ambassador to Saudi Arabia, ambassador to Tunisia and Zaire, and was ambassador-designate to Khomeini’s Iran before diplomatic relations were broken. In addition to a previous assignment to Iran, he served in Algeria, Cameroon, Korea, and Vietnam. He was also Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations, and Staff Assistant to the Secretary of State. Following his diplomatic service, Cutler directed Meridian International Center, of which he is now President Emeritus. Cutler is also a Senior Advisor to the Trust Company of the West. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, the American Iranian Council. He regularly visits Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Cutler is a graduate of Wesleyan University and holds an M.A. from the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy.

Ambassador Marc Charles Ginsberg: President of Layalina Productions, Inc., his three-decade government and private sector career has largely made his money in the Middle East as a diplomat, an international corporate lawyer, and investment banker. He is also CEO and Managing Director of Northstar Equity Group, a global financial advisory and capital sourcing company, and an affiliate of APCO Worldwide, the global corporate public affairs and communication firm where he co-chairs its Middle-east practice. Before joining Northstar, Ginsberg was the founder of Georgetown Global Investments Corporation (GGIC) , a placement firm specializing in Middle East technology ventures. Northstar swallowed up GGIC and Ginsberg is now a Senior Advisor and Director of Integration Capital & Trade (IC&T).

“Ginsberg develops investor alliances for “high-tech” investments, and represents post-incubator Internet and biotechnology companies in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. He also develops target-oriented revenue, and sales and branding strategies for new e-commerce ventures. Ginsberg also advises major U.S. telecommunications and energy companies in public tender and private sector competitions throughout southern Europe and the Middle East by developing unique market penetration strategies.”

Integration Capital & Trade say they are involved in “over five billion dollars worth of conventional and Islamic investment”; ICT”) say they were launched in early 2006 as a “spinout of the Gulf Cooperation Counsel (“GCC”) financial services practice of an international law firm”. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is made up of UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, according to ICT’s site:

The GCC continues to experience an unprecedented level of liquidity from the accumulation of wealth from oil and gas revenues, resulting in a Region investment boom.

From 1978-1981 Ginsberg served as Deputy Senior Advisor to President Carter (whom he now denounces) for Middle East Policy at the White House and from 1994 to 1998, Ginsberg served as U.S. Ambassador to Morocco where he engaged in public diplomacy outreach in the Arab world. He also served as the U.S. Coordinator for Mediterranean Trade, Investment and Security Affairs from 1998-1999, in this capacity, he was responsible for evaluating and coordinating American trade, investment, and national security policies in the Mediterranean Basin for the U.S. State Department. He was President Clinton’s Deputy Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs (the first U.S. Ambassador of Jewish heritage to a Middle East nation). Prior to his public service, Ginsberg practiced international commercial and corporate law in the Middle East. He helped draft Egypt’s first modern commercial statute and is considered an authority on Middle East investment and economic issues. Aside from his work with the federal government, Ginsberg served as Senior Partner and Chief Financial Officer, at Galland, Kharasch, Morse & Garfinkle. In this capacity, he represented international investment banks in emerging market penetration, and multinational aviation, telecommunications and energy companies with emphasis on project finance, equity investments, international IPOs, joint venture development, and privatizations. When appointed by Clinton as United States Ambassador to Morocco in 1993, “Ginsberg coordinated […] the OPIC Investment Fund. A typical online biography of Ginsberg will say he “conceptualized a new U.S. Middle East “Reverse Trade Mission” concept, which generated over $100 million in new U.S. exports”. But other readings of the OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) put it like this:

OPIC funds are structured so that the multinational corporations will reap enormous gains if the investment turns out well, and U.S. taxpayers will cover the losses if they fail.

OPIC is involved in funding both Israeli and (with the Aspen Institute) Palestinian projects. According to Ruth R. Harkin, president and chief executive officer of OPIC:

“In its early days, OPIC’s programs and services were seen as a tool for foreign aid and development policy. The reality today is that foreign investment and trade is American economic policy.”

He serves on the Board of directors of Xybernaut (which provides high tech equipment for the government and military). Xybernaut provide the US Department of Defense (DOD) and intelligence services with everything from basic computer and networking services to cutting-edge technology used by special operators in the field during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their TAC-V is employed by all four branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The Army uses the TAC-V for the AH-64 Apache and RAH-66 Comanche helicopter. It is used on the Navy’ s aircraft carriers and is integral in the maintenance of the Tomahawk cruise missile, which was used heavily in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Air Force employs the TAC-V in the maintenance of the B-1B Lancer bomber and he Marine Corps employs the TAC-V for maintenance of the AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter gunship. Xybernaut, like many US companies involved in the exploits of the Military-Industrial-Financial complex, could easily be described as ‘scandal-ridden.’ Being a private company, it does not release financial information, but has been accused of securities fraud, having engaged in a too much public diplomacy itself. Ginsberg was part of a reshuffle of directors just as the U. S. Attorney’s Office announced it was opening an investigation. The SEC information tells us that other directors included Lt. Gen. Harry E. Soyster: who was the Director of the United States Defense Intelligence Agency and prior to that, he was Commander of the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command and a Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence; Retired General William Tuttle, the former Commanding General of the U.S. Army Materiel Command and too part in Operation Just Cause (the invasion of Panama) and Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2000, Vice President Al Gore recruited Ginsberg to be the Senior Foreign Policy Coordinator for his Presidential campaign. During the Gulf War, Ginsberg was a consultant to CBS, CNN and NBC news as well as Al Jazeerah (Arab satellite TV) and Abu Dhabi TV. He is also a member of the National Security Network which campaigns against President Bush’s handling of the war. Mostly Democrats they are worried that:

“With no end in sight, the Bush plan for Iraq is to avoid the appearance of defeat in the next two years and pass the buck to the next president.”

And are arguing that in Afghanistan:

“We need leadership that will clearly define our interests in Iran and implement a realistic strategy instead of depending on tough rhetoric. Smart leadership to stop a smart adversary is needed.”

Ambassador Paul Russo: Currently president of Paul Russo & Associates, a Washington, DC firm specializing in international trade and government relations. Russo was appointed as the United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in 1986. Prior to assuming that position, he was the President of Capitol Consultants, Inc., a Washington, DC consulting firm specializing in government relations and international trade. Russo began his services in the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the President for Political Affairs at the White House from 1981-1983, and he then became Deputy Under Secretary of Labor. Russo served in the 1976, 1980 and 1984 Presidential campaign efforts of Ronald Reagan. In 1978, he founded and was named Executive Director and Treasurer of Campaign America, a political action committee chaired by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. Russo also served as Special Assistant to California’s governor, Ronald Reagan, from 1973-1975. Since 1991, Russo has been a faculty member of Georgetown University’s School for Continuing Education, teaching a course on the modern U.S. Presidency. Russo is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council of American Ambassadors and also serves on the Advisory Board of the Eastern International Academy, a private training facility in Amman, Jordan that specializes in training security forces for the Government in Iraq. Russo has served on the boards of a number of national organizations and federal advisory councils, including the National Easter Seal Society. The President’s National Commission for Employment Policy, and the Federal Advisory Council on Unemployment Insurance.

Mr. Frederick B. Whittemore – Director: Advisory Director at Morgan Stanley and Company in New York, Whittemore has been with the firm for 35 years, becoming a partner in 1967, Managing Director since the firm’s incorporation in 1970 and Advisory Director since January 1989. He has served as Governor and Vice Chairman of the American Stock Exchange, International President of the Pacific Basin Economic Corporation (PBEC), and Chairman of the U.S. National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation. Whittemore is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Director of Southern Pacific Petroleum, Former Director of the Dome Petroleum and Key Pharmaceutical Corporation, and a member of the American Australian Association, Chesapeake, and KOS Pharmaceuticals. Also with the ubiquitous Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Aspen Institute and the Whittemore Business School of the University of New Hampshire. Whittemore was formerly Chairman of the Board of the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, serves as Chairman of the American Australian Educational Studies and is Director of the British American Educational Foundation.

Further reading

* The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Inc. background profile.

* Jason Leopold (2003) ‘If Not Then, Why Now? Bush Invokes Saddam’s Crimes That His Father Failed to Punish‘, CounterPunch, March 17. This states that Fairbanks, a former assistant secretary of state and special negotiator in the Middle East peace process, “left the Reagan administration in 1985 to become a partner in the prestigious Washington law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, which, between December 1985 and March 1990, was a registered agent for the government of Iraq. Fairbanks was listed as personally handling the firm’s Iraqi account.” It also adds that President Bush took Fairbanks’ views so seriously that he named him co-chairman of a group of Middle East experts to advise him during the 1988 presidential campaign.

“The administration provided Baghdad with $1 billion in guaranteed credits in 1989 to enable Iraq to buy U.S. food supplies while pouring money into missiles, chemical weapons production and the search for an atomic bomb. After Congress voted at the end of 1989 to bar U.S. Export-Import Bank credits to Iraq, President Bush signed a waiver on Jan. 17. He said it was in America’s national interest to continue providing Baghdad with $200 million a year in subsidized financing.”

* Interview with Richard Fairbanks Reality TV, Diplomacy Style, February 02, 2007.

* Details on the Justice Department’s investigation of Rockwell for possible criminal violations of environmental laws in connection with its activities at the ‘Rocky Flats’ nuclear weapons plant.

* Although now largely forgotten one can still see remnants of the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies at gatherings such as the American Enterprise Institute’s Britain and America: A Strategic Dialogue Participant List, London, January 2001.

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