The Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies’ (IEDSS) David Reece Bowen was a US congressman when he joined the Institute in the early 1980s. An online biography states that he studied at Harvard University in 1954, before moving to Oxford for an MA in 1956 (where says he was taught by Isaiah Berlin at New College). He then served in the US Army from 1957-1958, then became an assistant professor of political science and history at Mississippi College, 1958-1959, and Millsaps College, 1959-1964. From here he was employed by US Office of Economic Opportunity, 1966-1967, then the US Chamber of Commerce, 1967-1968; becoming a co-ordinator of federal-state programs in Mississippi. From 1968 he was elected (as a Democrat) to Congress standing down in 1982 (there is no mention of his role in the IEDSS in any biography) to become a visiting lecturer at Mississippi State University.
Bowen also served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, responsible for public diplomacy and international broadcasting amongst other things. which we will examine below.
Other entries state that after leaving Congress, Bowen became “a consultant in various areas” and “an accomplished playwright.” This certain events of his consultant/lobbying activities which we will also examine below, together with an attempt to comprehend what the nature of his involvement in the IEDSS network might be, and why he was of interest to the IEDSS as a member.
After standing down from Congress, Bowen became the executive director of the Council for the National Interest (CNI) in Washington and begun writing political commentary in newspaper columns. We wi, this has been described as a foreign policy organization working on US Middle East policy. It is surprisingly sympathetic to the plight of Palestine, given the extent of the Israeli lobby’s relationship with the US Congress and we will also return to examine the CNI below.
The archive also contains information that, also in 1980s, he was involved with the Council of Europe (COE). A January, 1981 letter from Bowen states that he was appointed as House of Foreign Affairs liaison with the COE and the OECD. His involvement was from 1980-82, according to the archive. The archive also mentions his involvement in various organisations including: North Atlantic Assembly, Institute for European Studies: City of London Polytechnic, Inter Parliamentary Union, The Heritage Foundation, World Organization, Chile – AID and the Western European Union. A visit by the COE’s Political Affairs Committee on February 5-7, 1980, to Washington, D.C. is also mentioned.
Jacques Baumel is named as a contact: Baumel was also part of the Council’s Political Affairs Committee and has connections to various Atlanticist organisations including the Bilderberg group and the Western European Union, the security arm of the European Union. The WEU was, according to its site:
Conceived largely as a response to Soviet moves to impose control over the countries of Central Europe, the Treaty represented the first attempt to translate into practical arrangements some of the ideals of the European movement.
Along with the COE, the European Movement the WEU was one of the central organisations in creating ‘Atlanticism’ or the Atlantic Alliance, and a fore-runner of NATO. With the upsurge of a new cold war of the Reagan years, he WEU was reactivated in 1984 with a view to developing a “common European defence identity” through cooperation among its members in the security field and strengthening the European pillar of the North Atlantic Alliance. Barbara Conry, of the Cato Institute, observed in her (1995) The Western European Union As NATO’s Successor, that:
Largely inactive during the first 30 years of its existence, the WEU was revitalized at a 1984 meeting of its member states’ foreign and defense ministers. European leaders concluded that the deterioration in superpower relations in the early 1980s warranted closer cooperation among the West European nations on security issues.
Bowen was part of the Council of Europe: ‘Panel on the Relations between Western Europe and the U.S.A.’ the archive also notes several unspecified connection to the Heritage Foundation, the IEDSS’ funders and one specific mention of Bowen going on a “Heritage Foundation London Trip November, 1979”, and Bowen seems to have some connection to the Donner Foundation which funded Heritage and many other right-wing propaganda organisations.
According to David Teacher in Rogue Agents (p. 204), from 1979 to 1987, the leader of the UK delegation to the Western European Union (and also Chairman of the Council of Europe) was Sir Frederic Bennett, author of ‘Reds Under the Bed’, an important Bilderberger and from 1970 an associate of G. K. Young’s in Kleinwort Benson, SIF and the private armies of ‘Unison’, and from 1975 a companion of Crozier’s in NAFF. Bennett was also the president of FARI along with Brian Crozier and Robert Moss of the ISC, the fore-runner of the IEDSS and NAFF and Shield, along Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Menaul, an ISC Council member. Bennett was also Vice-President of the European-Atlantic Group (with the IEDSS’s Blaker and Chalfont). We can see key IEDSS themes in his obituary in the Independent:
…he branded organisations such as CND as fronts funded with laundered money from the KGB and serving the purposes of the Soviet Union. He was acutely aware of the threat of Soviet expansionism, and the part that might be played by “ideological fifth columns” in weakening the resolve of the West and preparing countries for Communist takeovers. As détente became fashionable, he warned of the danger of making concessions to the Soviet Union and hailed its break-up as full justification of the nuclear deterrent and the peace-through-strength policy that he had always advocated.
The National Interest
Apart from David Bowen, the board of directors of the Council for the National Interest (CNI) in 1989, when it was set up, included former US ambassadors turned lobbyists: Marshall W. Wiley a former Ambassador to Oman, Chief of the US Interests Section in Baghdad in the 1970s, past president of the U.S.-Iraq Forum trade association, according to Lance Selfa in the (1999) International Socialist Review Issue 7:
U.S. business created a virtual “Saddam lobby” to press for greater ties with Iraq. The U.S.-Iraq Business Forum, formed in 1982 and composed of executives from Amoco, Mobil, Westinghouse, Caterpillar and other major corporations, ran interference for Iraq in Washington. To insulate it from criticisms of ignoring human rights, it even added 1960s civil rights activist Mary King to its board. After Iraq attacked Halabja, the Iraq-Business Forum deflected condemnations of Iraq. Writing to President Reagan later that year, Forum leader Marshall W. Wiley urged the administration not to sanction Iraq for using chemical weapons. “We fully understand and agree with your desire to limit the use of chemical weapons,” Wiley wrote, but sanctioning Iraq “would have the opposite effect.”
Along with Henry Kissinger’s consulting firm Kissinger Associates, and the Carter administration’s Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, Wiley was caught up in intrigue surrounding ‘aid’ to Iraq which was passed through the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro and the BCCI. According to a House of Representatives enquiry, April 28, 1992 led by Henry Gonzalez:
$2 billion plus in BNL loans to Iraq went to Iraqi Government entities involved in running a secret Iraqi military technology procurement network. The procurement network, which operated through front companies situated in Europe and the United States, used the BNL loans to supply Iraqi missile, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs with industrial goods such as computer controlled machine tools, computers, scientific instruments, special alloy steel and aluminum, chemicals, and other industrial goods.
A 1990 New York Times business report quotes Wiley, as president of the United States-Iraq Business Forum, and outlines his connections to Saddam Hussein and the then Iraqi Minister of Trade and Finance, Mohammed Mahdi Salih, who stated that Iraq was going out of its way to buy American rice, wheat and corn, an aspect of government that had been Bowen’s responsibility while in government — and the BNL/BCCI affair in terms of Iraq also involved the Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation. One of the Forum’s tasks was to enlighten Americans who ”might make the wrong assumption” about Iraq. Members of the Forum included Exxon Company International and the General Motors Corporation. According to the Gonzalez report cited above:
On the private side, almost immediately after the United States normalized relations with Iraq in 1984, the United States-Iraq Business Forum was formed. It was founded by Mr. Marshall Wiley, a former State Department official stationed in Baghdad prior to the normalization of United States-Iraq relations. The chairman of the Business Forum was Mr. A. Robert Abboud, former chairman of First Chicago Bank, former president of Occidental Petroleum, and until recently, chairman of First City Bank in Houston, Texas. In other words, he was well wired into the U.S. business community. To say that the Business Forum was U.S. Government-sanctioned would be going too far. But the Business Forum did play a key role in United States-Iraq commercial relations.
Other board members include Talcott W. Seelye the US Ambassador to Syria, 1979-81, and a member of the Middle East Policy Council and the (Lockheed, ExxonMobil, Raytheon funded) America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, Inc.; and Andrew I. Killgore; former US Representatives Paul N. McCloskey of California, Richard H. Curtiss (former head of the Arabic Service of the Voice of America), according to an Associated Press report, October 23, 1990, the group (who are quoted as saying: “We are trying to take on AIPAC head-on” ) also included John B. Anderson, of whom Paul Findley of the CNI observed in 1992:
John B. Anderson, who received six percent of the total vote as an ardent pro-Israel independent candidate for president in 1980, now helps to lead an organization that deplores Israel’s abuse of human rights and urges self-determination for Palestinians. He also is the top official of the group that strives to give substance to the new world order, an objective that President Bush mentioned in the wake of the Gulf war.
Anderson is president of the United World Federalists, now known as Citizens for Global Solutions.
Other board members include Martha Keys and “several non-politicians, such as Jerry Levin, the former Cable News Network bureau chief and hostage in Lebanon,” and Paul Findley, who stated in a 1989 promotional article:
The unwillingness of our government to give the highest operational priority to our own national interests is the primary reason why the Soviet Union has been able to gain influence in the Middle East. It complicates the basing and deployment of US military forces in the region and handicaps the entire range of defense agreements and undertakings between the US and its strategic partners among the area’s 21 Arab countries-handicaps that are intensified by Israel’s demonstrated success in stealing our government’s most closely guarded secrets.
Findley is the author of the (1989) ‘They Dare to Speak Out’, which (p. 139-164) lists the Foreign Affairs Committee in the 1980s (when Bowen was involved) as one of the main sources of Israeli intelligence (affecting Talcott W. Seelye above). Others on the board included, wealthy Arthur J. Kobacker.
So in one way the CNI was set up to aid the battle with the Soviets and in another, as Findley, to aid the battle of the special interest groups or lobbyists:
Because of political pressure effectively applied by a special interest group, the US government has been subordinating the interests of the American people to the demands of another nation, Israel.
So in one sense this is an assembly of Foreign Service officers and so on, who wish to plow the field of Middle-east advocacy and lobbying unfettered by any hint of allegiance to Israel, and with the scent of oil money in their nostrils. The more the Israel lobby demonises the Arab world the more opportunities arise for lobbyists to benefit from reversing the process — and this opportunity is enhanced by states that cannot use the normal diplomatic channels. To illustrate this availability, some members of the organisation, such as Paul Findley have gone to extreme lengths such as claiming that Mossad killed JFK. Alexander Cockburn argued in Counter Punch May 8, 2006, that the “Jewish Lobby destroyed the political careers of Representative Paul Findley and of Senator Charles Harting Percy because they were deemed to be anti-Israel.”
One supporter was Saudi Prince Turki Bin Abdul Aziz, the brother of King Fahd
Together with other CNI members, Findley is also part of the American Educational Trust (AET), which was founded in Washington, in 1982. This has a distinct ‘retired-diplomats-now-lobbyists’ feature about it, according to (AET-backed) report in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, its founding chairman was Edward Firth Henderson, a British Army Officer during World War II who served in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. A biographical profile states:
…Henderson, a British Army Officer during World War II who served in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East […]was employed as an Arabist negotiator and adviser by the Anglo-Iranian oil company in the present day United Arab Emirates and Oman, before joining the British diplomatic service. He served as resident political officer in Abu Dhabi, as British consul in Jerusalem, and was the first British ambassador to the State of Qatar. After his retirement from British government service he served in 1980 and 1981 as executive director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) in London.
Henderson “co-ordinated the policies of the British oil companies with the broader issues facing the British government, working sometimes as an “oil company man”, at other times as a member of the Diplomatic Service,” according to his obituary in the Independent. This involved seting up various armed groups, including the SAS aiding the Sultan of Muscat, whereby his “career entered the processes by which Western intrusion transformed the antiquated Gulf sheikhdoms into hugely rich oil-producing states.” This also adds:
Competition between the rulers was duplicated by competition between the oil companies representing them and these, in turn, reflected Anglo- American rivalries: on the one hand the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco), working with the Saudi Arabian government, on the other the British oil companies supporting the Trucial States and Oman.
Co-founders were Andrew I. Killgore, who was US Ambassador to the State of Qatar when he retired from the US Foreign Service in 1980 and a public affairs officer to USIA in Baghdad in the 60s and from 1972 to 1974, he was counselor for political affairs in Tehran; and Richard H. Curtiss, AET’s first executive director, who was chief inspector of the US Information Agency when he retired from the US Foreign Service in 1980. Other initial directors of the AET were John Ruedy, former director of studies at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies; John Law, Middle East correspondent for US News & World Report for some 20 years before he founded Mideast Markets, for the Chase Manhattan Bank; and Dr. John Duke Anthony, president and chief executive officer of the National Council on US Arab Relations.
Bowman and Libya Lobbying
A US News & World Report, Dec 20, 1993, outlined Mohammed Bukhari’s efforts to cultivate friends of Lybia in Washington as the tip of a vast iceberg. It list well-connected Washington firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld and outlines offers of $5 millions (both before and after the 1992 presidential election) to represent the accused Libyan bombers; the firm declined the offers. This states:
State Department records show that more than 80 people, Americans and non-Americans, have approached U.S. officials with offers from the Libyan government. Some of the proposals involve trying the two defendants in the Pan Am 103 case in a third country; others have involved offers to pay families of those who died on Pan Am 103. The intermediaries range from small-town businessmen to former congressmen to international financiers like Adnan Khashoggi and Tiny Rowland, the head of the London-based Lonrho investment company. Lonrho formed a Caribbean shell company with Libya and invested more than $1 million to bankroll a film on the bombing of the Pam Am jet over Lockerbie; the film would have shown the Libyans were blameless. (Lonrho backed out of the film venture last week.) Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian, and Yaacov Nimrodi, an Israeli businessman involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, have received a multimillion-dollar fee from the Libyans, U.S. government officials say. Because they are not American citizens, the fee is not improper. It is unclear what the payment was for. Khashoggi and Nimrodi did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The report, and other press commentary, note that David Bowen and John Murphy were fined (other reports say $20,000) by the US Treasury Department for illegal lobbying on behalf of Libya, and quotes from a surprisingly reluctant Michael Ledeen.
Murphy traveled to Libya with consultant Albert Grasselli, who was also fined. “It seems everybody on the streets of Washington has met with Libya now,” says Michael Ledeen, a foreign-policy consultant to the Reagan administration who was approached in early 1993 by a top Libyan official to discuss the Pan Am 103 case. Says R. Richard Newcomb, director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control: “They are using every available means to do what they have to do not to comply with the U.N. sanctions and try to find people who are well connected, [even] sitting leaders.”
Ledeen had been involved in the Carter administration’s embarrassment when Gadhafi paid the president’s brother, Billy, $ 220,000 in 1979 and 1980 to also help improve relations. He is quoted in an Associated Press, July 22, 1993, report as being involved himself.
“They were desperate to resolve the situation,” recalled Michael Ledeen, a former Reagan administration official and Iran-Contra figure who saw Libya’s eagerness firsthand during a meeting in Cairo with a top Lib-yan official early this year. “They asked if I or anyone else might be able to serve as an intermediary,” he said. Ledeen, who engineered back-channel contacts through Israel in the arms-for-hostages deal with Iran, declined the offer. But the overture fits an intensifying pattern.
The National Journal, July 11, 1992 noted that Murphy (a supporter of US Senator Henry M. Jackson), has resurfaced as a lobbyist after he was convicted of bribery and conspiracy in the “Abscam scandal,” along with five other congressmen and one senator were FBI agents (dressed as wealthy Arabs) used hidden microphones and video cameras to record government officials discussing bribes for political favors. The National Journal stated that Murphy told the Justice Department that he has been paid $200,000 to help improve the image of Libya. Bowen, was said to head a Middle East policy group:
Bowen, who runs the Washington-based Council for the National Interest, said Murphy planned to press Libya to turn over two intelligence agents who were indicted in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland. The United Nations recently imposed sanctions against Libya after in refused to turn the men over for trial.
According to an Associated Press, July 30, 1992, report the three formed a company called GBM Consultancy Ltd., based in the Cayman Islands, and were urged in the project by Hassan Tatanaki, who provided $200,000 and was said to be “well-connected in the Libyan government”. The plan was to meet with members of Congress and the administration in an effort to “normalize relations” between the US and Libya with a view to to arrange visits to Libya by US officials and news organizations with the visits having “the cooperation of the Libyan government.” This added that “Bowen said Tatanaki has large business investments in Libya and throughout the Persian Gulf region,” and believed these would be enhanced by the lobbying.
Support for Reaganomics
Bowen had voted for Reagan’s economic program in 1981. A National Journal, August 8, 1981 article argued that “House legislative strategists should be noticing some familiar patterns in the defections of Democrats to support President”, in that half of the 48 Democrats voting for the Reagan-backed tax proposal, also sided with Reagan on the key spending-cut votes. But Bowen’s support for the CIA and the Reagan projects in Nicaragua are also of note.
A Washington Post, March 13, 1980, report stated that Bowen was part of the small House Foreign Affairs Committee which voted to “supplant the law governing the Central Intelligence Agency’s covert operations with a new rule providing for much more secrecy,” and overturn the Hughes-Ryan Amendment, whereby, “no covert actions in foreign countries can be undertaken “unless and until the president finds each such operation important to the national security and reports, in a timely fashion, a description and scope of such operation to the appropriate committees” of Congress.”
Acting on a series of voice votes after a closed-door briefing from the CIA, the committee decided to re-strict reports to Congress about covert operations to the Senate and House Intelligence committees, and to allow the president to avoid prior notification when he deems it “essential.”
It also notes that a move to require the president “to give at least some vague advance notice of especially risky opera-tions —without specifying any details—was beaten down.” Although it was put through during the last days of the Carter administration this in some ways paved the way for Reagan’s support for the Contras, and a Washington Post, June 7, 1979, report notes that Bowman, who was involved in negotiations concerning the Panama Canal, took part in hearings that tried to demonstrate that Panama was supplying Nicaraguan guerillas with guns to overthrow the Nicaraguan regime.
The hearing was in fact a sideshow, and the guns were weapons for the Republican right wing in what it considers the real battle — trying to cripple legislation implementing the Panama Canal treaties.
The committee chariman of this set-up was John Murphy, who would become Bowen’s partner in crime after leaving prison. The report notes that:
Seventy of the M1s were traced to guns sold by Universal Firearms and Johnson Arms in New Jersey to Casa y Pesca in Panama, which Pallais charged was a “paper” company, in which Col. Manuel Noreiga, head of the Panamanian G-2 intelligence, is a principal stockholder.
Bowen was the leader of a task force attempting to pass the canal legislation, which the Republican right were trying to wreck, but as the report notes (emphasis added):
….committee chariman John M. Murphy (D-N.Y.), who is ostensibly helping the administration try to pass the implementing legislation, said there was “no question” of Panamanian involvement and suggested some changes in the legislation might be required.
The report concludes that the Carter administration had worried that passage of the main amendments could set off strikes and demonstrations in Panama and jeopardize the US position in Central America. But adds that the right wing’s intention was not to scuttle the implementing legislation, but to make sure that the legislation which came out of the House-Senate conference was the more restrictive House version and not the version the administration wanted.
The archive states that he:
…proved to be an effective leader in getting Panama Canal legislation passed in the House, a role befitting his work on, and interest in, the operations of the House Foreign Affairs Committee…
The House Foreign Affairs Committee, was responsible for public diplomacy and international broadcasting. A letter congratulating Bowen on his retirement from the committee in 1982 (when he moved to the IEDSS) notes that the measures signed into law during his time there included:
“…humanitarian assistance for Lebanon […] a Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai […] El Salvador Presidential Certification […] Among Committee bills which passed the house but which the Senate failed to approve were Radio Broadcasting to Cuba and the resolution calling for a nuclear weapons freeze…”
Legislation influencing the radio broadcasting to Cuba (Radio Marti) would have been of interest to several members of the IEDSS with connections to US public diplomacy and the Voice of America. Other points of note, include the attempts to influence the nuclear debate — so it is possible that the IEDSS (as with the Labour party in the UK) wished to gain information on US Democratic intentions in these respects as the Reagan administration (heavily influenced by the Heritage Foundation agenda) introduced its plans. The Foreign Affairs Committee also had some relation and involvement with resolutions “in connection with human rights violations by the Soviet Union,” another IEDSS concern.
Another 1982 letter from the out-going Committee chair, thanks him for his support on “our stand for freedom of information during the UNESCO imbroglio, in our efforts for nuclear non-proliferation, and in our attempts to secure human rights…” The UNESCO affair (the US withdrew in 1984) had some direct bearing on the IEDSS, in 1985 as is set out in the Profile on Peter Blaker — as stated there, William Preston, Edward S. Herman, Herbert I. Schiller’s (1989) Hope & Folly: The United States and Unesco, 1945-1985, which traces (p. xv) the anti-UNESCO policy to the Heritage Foundation’s Mandate for Leadership, presented to the Reagan government. We could also note that Bowen stated in an August 18, 1982 letter that he planned to start a “firm addressing both international and domestic policy areas” after leaving politics — and this inside information would have been valuable for those wishing to influence the debate on the areas briefly mentioned here together with Bowen’s work with the Council of Europe. The southern Democrats are also noted for their ideological sympathy to various elements of the Reagan administration.
In an interview Bowen stated that “had applied to the U.S. Foreign Service” and was accepted but then turned down on health reasons. He applied to join the Foreign Affairs Committee towards the end of his time in government, according to a 2001 interview, part of this was a place on the Subcommittee on International Operations which he described as under the State Department oversight and “which deals with the U.N. and other international organisations”, such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, he describes his responsibilities here as: “We would meet at different points around the globe with Parliamentarians from other countries as members of Congresses and Parliaments of various nations.” Bowen explained his position at this point as “explaining what the United States of America is all about” mostly in South America:
That’s something that our Embassies appreciated and found it useful for me to meet with Foreign Officials and have interviews with foreign newspapers. It could support what they were doing. In other words it gave them the kind of back up, legitimacy they wanted when they explained how difficult it was to do something…
Bowen is sanguine about his job trading with dictators, namely his support for Zaire’s President Mobutu and adds that his views were a little bit like FDR during WWII:
He was talking about Generalissimo Trujillo down in the Dominion Republic. He said, “Well, he may be an S.O.B., but he’s our S.O.B.” […] we were looking for markets for our products over seas. My view was, as long as somebody was on our side and not on the Russians, and as long as they were customer for our products they were buying what we shipped over and helping the economy of the state of Mississippi and this nation, I was all for maintaining decent relations with them. And, if we could use our influence to modify their regimes, fine.
The Reagan administration’s assistant administrator of the Agency for International Development (AID) from 1981 to 1983, and then first director of the State Department’s Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean from 1983 to 1986, was Otto Reich, who’s tenure at the Office of Public Diplomacy generated major controversy during the exposure of the Iran-contra scandal and left an extensive document trail, these are presented by Thomas Blanton in his (2001) Public Diplomacy and Covert propaganda. This includes a report by the House Foreign Affairs Committee (September 7, 1988) investigation of Reich’s office that concluded that:
…senior CIA officials with backgrounds in covert operations, as well as military intelligence and psychological operations specialists from the Department of Defense, were deeply involved in establishing and participating in a domestic political and propaganda operation run through an obscure bureau in the Department of State which reported directly to the National Security Council rather than through the normal State Department channels…. Through irregular sole-source, no-bid contracts, S/LPD established and maintained a private network of individuals and organizations whose activities were coordinated with, and sometimes directed by, Col. Oliver North as well as officials of the NSC and S/LPD. These private individuals and organizations raised and spent funds for the purpose of influencing Congressional votes and U.S. domestic news media. This network raised and funneled money to off-shore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands or to the secret Lake Resources bank account in Switzerland for disbursement at the direction of Oliver North. Almost all of these activities were hidden from public view and many of the key individuals involved were never questioned or interviewed by the Iran/Contra Committees.