On March 3rd, 2014 Abby Martin decided to speak her mind and express her disappointment regarding the Crimea media coverage from all sides of the spectrum live on her television show, Breaking The Set. The story went viral on the mainstream media, only because her show airs on Russian backed RT, and Russia had just stepped into the conflict following the coup in Ukraine. Immediately following this action, a cadre of younger thirty-something neoconservatives in the heart of Washington DC tried to smear Abby after discovering her political views. In addition to the distorted take-down attempts against her, they tried to hijack her stand and manipulate it into anti-Russian / pro-US propaganda.
The most vitriolic among them, Jamie Kirchick was revealed as being a fellow of “PNAC 2.0″ also known as the Foreign Policy Initiative, a think tank which was founded by the same group of neoconservatives who founded The Project For a New American Century (PNAC). This revelation caused Abby and her brother Robbie Martin to delve deeper into the history of how these think tanks operate in Washington DC.
In this edition of Media Roots Radio, Robbie and Abby go all the way back to the 1950’s, when Bill Kristol’s father, Irving Kristol coined the term ‘neoconservative’. The discussion encompasses the history of neoconservatism and the symbiotic relationship between it and US government’s foreign policy, pointing to specific players like Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Jamie Kirchick, and how the ‘end game’ scenario for the people behind PNAC has always been Russia and China. The ‘War on Terror’ was merely the middle stage, and now we sit on a dangerous tipping point towards a new Cold War after only a 23 year break since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.
While today’s events continue to unfold and intensify involving the US, Russia and Ukraine, the perfect climate is being created for a lot of the old think-tank and neoconservative faces to come out of hiding to stir up the impending war fervor. While many of these old faces no longer have credibility among the informed American public, many of the new faces do because they haven’t been outed as neoconservatives and weren’t directly associated with any major scandals like the key players (Kristol, Perle) during the Iraq war.
Below is a full transcript of the show written by Sam Buchanan
[song: Urban Tribe – Peacemakers (Carl Craig Remix)]
Abby: Welcome to Media Roots Radio, this is your host Abby Martin.
Robbie: And this is your host Robbie Martin.
Abby: So, if anyone’s been following this story about what happened at RT, Check it out, there’s a couple articles that are published on Media Roots that kind of explains the backstory, but what we wanted to do here was just kind of dig deeper into the evolution of neoconservatism, and how it has morphed, and the kind of new players behind the game, and how this is all rooted back decades pretty much and the influence over policy that the Neocon clan has had, and pointing out the characters behind the game. So If anyone’s been following the RT story, you know that my anti-war message on RT essentially got hijacked by war mongers here in DC, from a think tank called the Foreign Policy Initiative, and ever since this happened, my brother’s been doing an inordinate amount of research about who these people are in the Foreign Policy Initiative, and how it all ties back to the Bush administration and beyond, far back before that, is there anything else you wanted to add, Robbie?
Robbie: Just that the Neoconservatives, just like any ruined brand name had to sort of reinvent themselves and repackage their message, and a lot of the core Neoconservatives and basically just foreign policy hawks, who aren’t in government, most of them aren’t in government currently, are still pulling the strings in DC to a large extent, and they’ve managed to do it by essentially distancing themselves from the Bush administration foreign policy, pretending like they had no influence over [the Bush administration] now, after they were really proud of it during the Bush administration, effectively rewriting history and now they’re back. A lot of them are even going out in the media like Bill Kristol, he’s on Crossfire all the time now, and even has a permanent gig on ABC, so a lot of these people are totally back in action, like nothing’s wrong.
A: And not only them, not only these giant players behind the game who were actual signatories of Project for a New American Century or really serious players back in these administrations, but there’s a new kind of young, hip clan of Neocon hack journalists here in DC that have inserted themselves in a bunch of different publications to promote these talking points from the Foreign Policy Initiative and beyond who are essentially just…
R: Are mouthpieces for this type of foreign policy perspective
A: Yeah, and they were all the ones vehemently trying to undermine my narrative and shape this narrative that was against RT, because they are vying for a new Cold War, it’s very interesting.
R: The Foreign Policy Initiative is a not very well-known Neoconservative think tank in Washington DC, that is essentially the re-branding of the Project for the New American Century think tank, which was arguably the most influential group of people in the United States foreign policy apparatus from the late 90’s, during the entire Bush administration, at least until the middle of the Bush administration, after all the major things were done. You know, you hear people- we’ve seen movies like Power of Nightmares, Fahrenheit 9/11, all the typical stuff that’s already out in the public consciousness about how Neoconservatives and Neoconservative thinkers shaped this foreign policy and then influenced the Bush administration, and also had key, pivotal members inside the Bush administration from their sort of cabal, this tightly knit group.
And we’ve all heard that stuff but I don’t think until I did a lot of research on the exact history of it, did i really understand exactly how that happened, because you have a vague idea of it, you could think Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Wolfowitz, they had these ideas, they signed that letter to Clinton urging him to go into Iraq in 1996 [correction: 1998] and all this stuff. There’s connections there that are very easy to find on the surface, it’s like oh okay, Wolfowitz obviously had these motives before the Bush administration, going all the way back to the first Bush administration. The Foreign Policy Initiative has essentially somehow escaped the radar of people who had brought light to a mostly unknown group of Neoconservatives in the mainstream consciousness, I mean they’re very well known obviously in DC, but until they were brought to light, I don’t think most people really realized what was going on. And once they had been, they were so widely hated and despised amongst the American public, sort of immediately and directly associated with the failures and the horrors of the Iraq war, that they kind of went back into hiding and only 4 or 5 years later did they come back out, and re-assert themselves. And they’re doing the same thing that they were doing back then, they’re just taking it to the next level now.
A: Yeah. They’re trying to figure out how they can re-strategize, I mean we know that…
R: Like any good corporation or marketing team would advise someone to do. What do corporations do when they fuck up, I mean sometimes they even change their entire name.
A: Look at Blackwater.
R: Yeah, it’s a very typical tactic. And it’s not just a simple, “oh let’s re-brand ourselves to be a new name because people hated us so much under our old name”, it’s different now because they already accomplished in large part a lot of the goals laid out in the Project for the New American Century. So it’s almost like they’re taking it to the next stage now, essentially. Away from : where the war on terror, was almost merely a stepping stone to get us to what the next stage is now.
A: Almost like they pushed it as far as they could, as we know Wesley Clark was told from another general in the army right after 9/11, that they were going to invade 7 countries in 5 years, and when you look at the PNAC, rebuilding America’s defenses, that infamous document, they talk openly and very unabashedly, and this is before 9/11 mind you, that they did want to invade all these countries and re-assert themselves and western hegemony, imperialism, take over all these resources and re-assert their dominance in that area of the world, and I think that they just tried to do as much as they could. They tried to lay it all out, put all their cards on the table, push the envelope as far as they absolutely could. They pushed it pretty far, there’s only a couple states left that were in that initial “Axis of Evil” and then the greater “Axis of Evil” that haven’t been knocked down so far. But David Frum, Bush’s speechwriter, the “Axis of Evil” speechwriter, he was in the administration, he’s going to Ukraine with Kirchick. I mean he’s writing for the Daily Beast, he’s still re-asserting the fact that the “Axis of Evil” was right, he’s doubling down on the notion, and this is weeks ago. So these people are still- they’re back in full effect, now they’re working with this new brand of hipster Neocons in DC, they’re kind of like their allies, maybe not as openly in the forefront as they are but they’re still working with them really closely.
R: Yeah, absolutely. Even Jamie Kirchick is officially a fellow of the Foreign Policy Initiative, and he’s probably the most prominent public face who goes out there and speaks on behalf of them. Just like before, 9/11 gave all these people an opportunity to put their plans into action – the Crimean incursion has given them a new opportunity to put some of their similar plans into action which is to bring us further into a confrontation with Russia. Just like before, they’re just extremely opportunistic. It couldn’t be any more timely that this just happened where these people tried to hijack the narrative of you just making an off-script statement on your show on RT, because they just all sent a letter, a very similar letter to the one that was sent to president Clinton in 1998, advocating for the invasion of Iraq. They sent a letter to Obama, and when I say “they” I mean the Foreign Policy Initiative did, with Bill Kristol as a signatory, Jamie Kirchick as a signatory, pretty much all the people in the Foreign Policy Initiative plus some other ones, advocating for more military aggression towards Russia. It’s a little bit more vague than their Saddam Hussein Iraq letter, but of a very similar flavor. When they write letters like that, their plans are sort of in full swing, they’re putting people all over the media, so it’s happening still, right now. They’re getting as many media slots as they can possibly get, they’re not getting a huge amount of them but the little bit that they are getting is just injecting ever so sporadically these little bits of propaganda that take root and are sort of guiding what’s happening right now between Russia and the United States.
A: Right. Eli Lake was just on the news networks last week a couple times, Kristol, you know the more these people are on, the more these seeds are planted in peoples minds and the more the “rallying” is fostered, such as Bill Kristol articulated in his op-ed a couple months ago, explaining that a rallying is needed in order to get the American people behind a new military standoff with Russia, is basically how he spells it out. So do you want to go into how this all started, back before the Iraq war, back with the fathers of this ideology, Robbie?
R: Yeah. Let’s dive back into it. In reality it is a very small group of people who have been the primary influence to spread this ideology. We’ve all heard of Bill Kristol, not to be confused with Billy Crystal the actor, but Bill Kristol AKA William Kristol, the guy who started what is considered the Neocon bible, The Weekly Standard Magazine in the mid 90’s, and who also was the founder of Project for a New American Century.
Stephen Colbert: Mr. Kristol thank you so much for joining me tonight, how you doing? You work at Fox News
Bill Kristol: I do, I think all of Fox News should join Bush’s cabinet.
SC: we think alike.
SC: Speaking of thinking alike, you were, or you are a member of the Project for the New American Century, were or “am”?
BK: Were and am.
SC: Okay, hows that project coming along, how’s the new American century? Looks good to me, right?
BK: I’m… (laughs) I’m speechless.
SC: Really? Come on, it’s a fantastic new American century right? You, Rummy, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Perle, Feith, all you guys right?
BK: Well we fought back after 9/11 and I’m proud of what we did in Afghanistan and Iraq, yes.
SC: But this is pre-911, you guys had the project in the 90’s.
BK: And we thought we should have been fighting back war in the 90’s.
SC: Right, we should have invaded Iraq, you know, then, you said.
Robbie: His father, Irving Kristol, is actually the guy who coined the term Neoconservative, it was a term applied to Irving Kristol by a critic, so someone was criticizing Kristol for essentially being one of these new conservatives, who used to be a liberal activist, who really quickly converted to conservatism, because in Kristol’s own words he was “mugged by reality.” Neoconservative was originally a label to describe people who were once liberal who, based on some kind of real life experience, or some external experience, 9/11 is a good example of that- people who were liberal before 9/11 and 9/11 woke them up to being a conservative, that would be a literal translation of the term Neoconservative. Irving Kristol was originally a liberal, and he was a self-labeled what they call a Trotskyite, which was sort of the two different opposing views in Soviet Russia and there were two opposing factions: the Trotskyites and the Stalinists, so Trotskyites were people in Soviet Russia who believed they were carrying on a more true vision of Marxism. So you can actually in some way trace back the grandfather of Neoconservatism Irving Kristol to a part of the Soviet Union that if it actually would have taken over instead of Stalinism, might have been a much more interesting, less horrible place in retrospect. If the Trotsky ideals actually were what gained ground there and Russia was more intellectual, and it wasn’t as closed off a society to the rest of the world.
So, and I’m not giving him any credit, I’m just saying that that’s where his influence comes from. His ideology that he helped start was in folded leftist policies, such as lack of objection in welfare programs, international “revolution” through nation-building and militarily imposed democracy, Fabian socialism, Keynesianism, coupled with socially conservative viewpoints. And the most interesting part of that I thought was that the international revolution aspect of nation-building is almost a form of liberal activism, in a domestic sense. It’s almost like he’s using a lot of the same liberal activism + ideology to put us on this geopolitical stage. Through international revolution, knock down these other countries which are stifling democracy. That’s where the premise is linked to liberalism. And that’s what we’ve talked about for so long on Media Roots, this idea of how they get people sucked into a lot of these wars now by saying things like the Afghanistan war, part of the reason it’s “valid” is because they have such horrible rights for women and freedom of speech is illegal and all that kind of stuff. So it ties into that. And you can even trace Neoconservatism back even further, but it wasn’t labeled that back then. This guy Leo Strauss was a professor, very influential intellectual, who was the main guy who influenced Irving Kristol, into what is his modern political philosophy of Neoconservatism and really at the core of what Leo Strauss did is he was sort of mashing up two different forms of academic thought, modern political science, but transposing over it the philosophical writings of Plato, Aristotle, and other philosophers like Machiavelli, on to modern 20th century politics. When you try to do that, you start seeing things in this different context obviously, and I think that’s what enabled a lot of Irving Kristol’s ideas to flourish, they were inside of this tiny, almost metaphysical box that was an abstraction from reality. The philosopher that seemed to have the most influence on the modern Neoconservatives is Machiavelli.
Michael Ledeen: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia are the big four and then there’s Libya, there’s a North Korean problem too. I’m a student of Machiavelli, I wrote a book on Machiavelli and I know the struggle against evil is going to go on forever.
Robbie: That quote was from Michael Ledeen during an American Enterprise Institute think tank talk, and we’re going to talk a little later about how the American Enterprise Institute was a very important Neoconservative think tank that predated a lot of these other ones, and also Michael Ledeen sits on the board of another prominent Neoconservative think tank in DC called the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and stay tuned later in the broadcast, we’ll go a lot more in-depth on both of those. Michael Ledeen used to be one of the most prominent Neoconservative thinkers and writers and speakers, but kind of like Richard Perle his rhetoric wasn’t as sophisticated as some of the other Neoconservatives. His rhetoric was a lot more harsh, a little more blunt, and just like he’s saying here, his rhetoric took on a little bit more of a transparent Machiavellian flavor. You’ve heard the term Machiavellianism, and the philosopher Machiavelli. Machiavellianism according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct.”
Psychologists have described Machiavellianism as a mental disorder, so they have a new meaning for Machiavellianism, which is “a person’s tendency to be unemotional and therefore able to detach him or herself from conventional morality and hence to deceive and manipulate others.”
So I think that that at it’s core is actually what is most important to hold on to from a philosophy aspect. And then you can see that creeping into all these areas which effect the way statecraft is done today. For example, the classic liberal idea embedded in the founding fathers of the United States to Neoconservatives is not as important as the entire collective entity of the political culture of the United States as it exists today. When you show a normal person a lot of these writings of Neoconservatives they would think that it sounds similar to fascism, because [the Neoconservatives] would use terms like “the health of the nation” looking at a society as this entity in and of itself, what drives or fosters stability and “good” in a nation, nation-state mentality as a society, keeping this psychological system healthy by things like nationalism, patriotism, the idea that our ideals our so good that we need to spread them to other countries using leftist activist rallying techniques on the international geopolitical stage. Iraq or Bosnia, those wars were sold for the good of human rights. They weren’t posing a threat to us. To make us all feel like humanitarians…
Abby: Something that struck me as really strange too is this way that they speak about Russia, and the US, these people that have been writing out there- Jamie Kirchick always writes about Russia doing false flags, which is so interesting because it’s inconceivable to think of the US ever doing that to these people, and they mock it……
R: Guess who also does? David Frum and Richard Perle in the book that’s sitting right here in front of me they talk about how the Chechen apartment building bombings were false flag attacks.
[addition: David Frum and Richard Perle co-authored a book released in 2004 called An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror]
A: And that may or not be true, but also Jamie Kirchick has written multiple things like this other plane full of an opposition group in Russia that went down and he’s saying that was done by the Russian government, extreme assertions here that if we were to assert them remotely about the US government, we would be called “lunatic conspiracy theorists” who have zero credibility. So its curious the way that they’ve shaped the narrative and projected that anyone who voices that whatsoever about any non-ally country is somehow okay.
[addition: During a debate between Jamie Kirchick and Ray McGovern, Kirchick tries to label McGovern as a “9/11 conspiracy theorist” for mentioning the Reichstag fire. Without batting an eyelash Kirchick immediately transitions to accusing Edward Snowden of being a Russian intelligence operative. Espousing a blatant conspiracy theory of his own construction that “the whole thing” [referring to the leaks from Snowden given to Glenn Greenwald] was an “FSB operation from the very beginning”. Scroll to 8:00 . link]
R: And this is a funny side note but remember how I showed you some of those videos from Radio Free Europe and you were like “Whoa, that’s so weird they look like We Are Change Canon-D videos”, almost like they were filmed in this shaky-cam, man on the street documentarian style, and that shit’s effective. Its visceral when you watch something that looks like that, it adds more power to the message.
A: And you have to think for yourself, why is Radio Free Europe out in the streets of Russia trying to do activism during Sochi about the gay law. Why is a state-sponsored organization trying to rally people up in Russia during Sochi about the gay law, on a Canon HD grassroots, raw, weird documentary, it’s like what in the hell is going on? Brings it back to what you said which is that this is a state policy.
[addition: In a previous episode of Media Roots Radio we speculated on the idea that there was US state driven agitation propaganda which was hijacking gay rights to create a wedge between Russia and the United States. Until very recently we had no idea this official state policy had already been in effect for years. More surprising was that a blatant hawkish Neoconservative, Jamie Kirchick was actually spreading this type of agitation propaganda on the US government payroll during the first term of the Obama administration. Scroll to 48:00-1:04:00 in the broadcast]
Radio Free Europe: It was a day of celebration for gay Americans and their allies. New York’s annual gay pride parade took place on June 30th, just days after the US Supreme Court made two rulings that support the cause of same-sex marriage. For Russian-Americans and others from the former Soviet Union, there was another reason for pride. It was the first time the Russian-speaking gay community had a float in the parade, showing off their roots.
Activist: “I hope KGB is not here to slash our tires at the last moment”
RFE: Other participants in the Russian delegation shared their excitement at being able to celebrate gay culture, something they can’t do openly at home. And that’s the video roundup from Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty
Robbie: I just want to mention this because this is something that I think is a very important key linkage between Neoconservative intellectuals and the US government. And it goes all the way back to the 1960s [correction: 1950s]. Irving Kristol, considered the grandfather of Neoconservatism, he wrote a regular publication called Encounter Magazine, and it was like a literary journal, it wasn’t even writings on politics, it was intellectual philosophy, more abstract writings, but coming from that perspective. This is the interesting part about this magazine, is that it was actually funded covertly by a CIA front philanthropist group, that acted like they were these intellectual philanthropists but they were actually the CIA.
CSPAN interviewer: Working for the CIA, whats that about?
Irving Kristol: Oh, back in the 1950s, I was in London co-editing Encounter Magazine with Stephen Spender, that it was revealed in fact, we thought we were being subsidized by an American foundation called the Fairfield foundation, and in fact that was a front for the CIA and it was CIA money.
CSPAN: How’d you find out?
IK: It was made public in the press. I don’t know how they found out, somebody leaked it obviously, but I didn’t inquire and I didn’t care really.
CSPAN: What was your reaction at the time?
IK: I was annoyed! I didn’t want to work for the CIA
CSPAN: Why would they want to fund the Encounter Magazine?
IK: That’s why there were rumors that there was some government money behind it, but the question occurred to me that just occurred to you, why on earth would they want to fund a magazine that Stephen Spender and I were editing?
Robbie: He claims he didn’t know. So the whole time he’s writing for this magazine, which he I believe co-founded, he was being funded entirely by the CIA. Which if you take it at face value, if you believe that he didn’t know about it, then it doesn’t really matter if he knew about it or not, because what you see happening there is a mutual beneficial relationship between the US government and the ideas of Neoconservatism
Abby: Of course he knew… come on….
R: But let’s just say in theory he didn’t know, that shows that the US government… because I think it oversimplifies things too much to think even if he didn’t know that they were paying for this to be launched in the public consciousness, I think that it just shows that there’s an extreme mutual benefit between the US government’s agenda, foreign policy agenda, and these influential ideas. They wanted to help theses ideas perpetuate and flourish because it helps them essentially.
A: Of course, it’s just so hypocritical for them to overreact so much about Russia and Crimea, and I’m not saying it’s not worth reacting, but when we find out that the USAID, as we’ve talked about multiple times that they invested openly 5 billion dollars in Ukraine over the last two decades for their “democratic future” and when you find out the USAID is basically acting like the CIA.
Victoria Nuland: Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, The united states has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions.
Victoria Nuland: We’ve invested over 5 billion dollars on the ground in these and other goals that will ensure a democratic and prosperous Ukraine
Abby: They had a fake twitter account in Cuba, they had a fake Cuban twitter did you hear about this?
A: God knows what they’re doing everywhere else, if this is a so-called aid organization? The CIA of course we know what they’re doing, different overt organizations that are obviously actively trying to do regime change, and then you find out that USAID, which is supposed to be an aid organization helping children, is actually actively pursuing regime change. You see Edward Snowden’s slides about using social media for propaganda, to gain access to political information that you can use to influence the outcome of other countries. This is some scary shit here.
R: It is. And on the surface, a lot of these Neoconservative groups, with the exception of just a couple people, most of them seem pretty benign and boring, droll, and like they wouldn’t have any influence, you wouldn’t expect them to have this much influence, but in Washington DC there are hundreds of these think tanks. Irving Kristol became a senior fellow at this think tank that was founded in the 30’s, they’ve existed since the 30’s which is crazy to me, called the American Enterprise Institute. The American Enterprise Institute’s mission statement is “to defend the principles and to improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism”. This was widely considered to be the biggest most influential Neoconservative think tank before the next generation of Neoconservatives like the Bill Kristol’s and people like that. So Irving Kristol was a part of this think tank for many many years, and during this time after he stopped writing for Encounter Magazine.
[addition: Irving Kristol founded a new publication in 1965 called the Public Interest, which ran from 1965-2005 which had a great influence on political thinkers and journalists, best described as a proto Weekly Standard, the magazine founded by his son, William Kristol]
He wasn’t a very well known public figure at all, it was more he was just well known among intellectual thinkers and geo-strategic political thinkers, and government people. And in the 70’s, that’s when people like Rumsfeld and Cheney were rising through the ranks, through the Nixon and Ford administrations, and then eventually we go all the way to the George H. Bush administration , and that’s when people like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz got reunited [correction: Dick Cheney not Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld was in the private sector during the first Bush administration]. Who later went into the next Bush administration and were key architects in the Iraq war, and during the Clinton administration, right after the fall of the Soviet Union, there was a group of new Neoconservatives comprised of William Kristol, another guy named Robert Kagan. They were two of the co-founders of what became the Project for the New American Century, as far as I’m concerned the most influential think tank or just the most influential group of people over the Bush administration.
A: Oh absolutely, yeah, do you want to talk about who was on the board of that so people understand?
R: Absolutely yeah. Just to cut more directly to it, there’s all these letters that they sent out to Clinton trying to urge him to invade Iraq in 1996 [correction: 1998], there’s the rebuilding America’s defenses document which talks about needing a new Pearl Harbor, so there’s all that shit. And there’s all these different signatories of those documents, and that in and of itself is definitely an interesting connection that people like Richard Perle, Wolfowitz, and all these people who weren’t in government at the time signed this document to send to President Clinton, or signed this document talking about how we needed a “new Pearl Harbor”, that’s interesting in and of itself, but I think what’s more interesting is that after the election of George W. Bush, some of, and not just some but over 20 of PNACs members and signatories were appointed to key positions in the Bush White House, literally.
And I can just really quickly read off this list, Elliott Abrams- special assistant to the president, Richard Armitage- Deputy Secretary of State, John Bolton- US Ambassador to the United Nations, Dick Cheney, Elliott Cohen- Defense Policy Advisory Board, Seth Kropsky- International Broadcasting Bureau, Paula Dobriansky- Under Secretary of State, Aaron Felberg, Francis Fukuyama- President’s council on Bioethics, I mean the list goes on and on of all these people who directly were involved in writing these extremely influential letters for the PNAC, landed directly into the Bush administration in key positions. Even Richard Perle did, he was on the Defense Policy Advisory Board Committee for Bush. But it’s not just PNAC that had an influence, it’s these people. It’s people like Richard Perle and William Kristol and Robert Kagan. In the letter that they wrote to Clinton where they urged Clinton to attack Iraq, do you remember hearing about that? Even before “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” they wrote a letter to Clinton…
A: No, when?
R: January 26, 1998, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey, Donald Rumsfeld, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan- they all signed this letter, and the letter is only six paragraphs long, it’s very short. And it starts out saying “Dear the Honorable William Jefferson Clinton…..” basically the most important part of it to take away is that it uses the phrase “weapons of mass destruction” FIVE times
R: In a six paragraph letter
A: Woah woah wait
R: In relationship to Iraq.
A: This was in ’98?
R: Yeah, I shit you not. So this phrase “weapons of mass destruction”, five times its used in full, not even as an acronym at that point. I mean they spell the whole fucking phrase out. So that was happening before Bush got into office.
A: It’s so obvious why they wanted to re-brand themselves, I mean god they were trying this rhetoric back then and it got so played out and so mocked, of course they had to do a whole rebranding effort.
R: Yeah, and here’s another interesting thing. This is an excuse that Kristol and Kagan have used repeatedly, even Wolfowitz has used this excuse- they’ve said things like when asked “well weren’t you the signatory of this document? Obviously you worked with these people and helped devise this policy before you got into the administration”, and they’ll always say things like “well, you know, I’d like to think we had a lot of influence but nobody ever, we didn’t work with anybody, oh yeah I think we wrote that letter to Clinton, I think it was maybe me and so and so, but you know not that many people read it…”
A: Yeah they poo-poo their [own] influence
R: And then Wolfowitz will be like “Yeah I think I signed that thing but I didn’t really have anything to do with it” and all this shit.
Audience member: Mr. Wolfowitz, as a key architect of the PNAC, you co-authored a document calling for a new American empire around the world that would use nuclear weapons, invade countries that never threatened the U.S., and keep down potential rivals to American economic and military power. Do you think your projects for empire are worth thousands of innocent Iraqi and American lives?
Paul Wolfowitz: I was not a key architect of that project, I was listed on some of their things…
Paul Wolfowitz: You know there’s an attempt to tie a whole lot of things that are going on now back to a document that was drafted by my staff when I was in the first Bush…..
[addition: Paul Wolfowitz drafted a policy doctrine during the early 90s that was leaked to the press, coined by the public as the ‘Wolfowitz doctrine’. This document is pointed to by many critics of Neoconservatism as being a template for PNAC.]
Abby: Yeah that’s how they do it, remember was it Richard Perle arguing with Noam Chomsky?
Abby: Noam Chomsky would point out all these things that were written specifically by Perle, and Perle’s argument every time was “oh okay you’re picking out one paragraph from dozens of documents, oh I’m sorry did I say that”, totally minimizing everything that Chomsky said that actually was implemented that they had written about, it was like these blueprints. And that’s their strategy, to just be like “oh okay, conspiracy theorists, you think we wrote this all out before we did it?” and it’s like yeah you did.
Robbie: And yeah you wrote it all out, but now you claim that you have this very loose connection and people are trying to draw this conspiracy around you guys, but the truth of it is, they can’t escape this. Yeah, you could argue “Wolfowitz signed it but maybe didn’t write it”, let’s accept that bullshit premise, but this doesn’t change the fact that Robert Kagan and William Kristol in the year 2000 wrote a book called Crisis and Opportunity: an American Foreign and Defense Policy [correction: The title for the book is Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in America’s Foreign and Defense Policy]. And in the book, it’s all these articles by Robert Kagan, by William Kristol, by Frederick Kagan, because pretty much the entire Kagan family are war historians, its really bizarre. But in the book, Paul Wolfowitz has an entire section of the book written by him…. whoops! So, okay there’s “no proof” that Wolfowitz was involved in Rebuilding America’s Defenses but here’s him co-authoring parts of a book where he’s making money, they had to divide up the money made from the book to Wolfowitz and pay him for his work in here. The relationship [between Wolfowitz and the founders of PNAC] clearly goes much deeper than just signing the letter is all I’m saying. It’s not really up for debate but they keep denying it, and that’s in and of itself telling, that’s part of the rebranding effort is to disassociate the Bush administration and its policies from these people.
A: Yeah and just smear, smear, smear anyone who even tries to point it out.
R: Yeah. You think of these people, oh they’re intellectuals, oh they’ll own it, they’re not embarrassed of it, they’re proud of what they did, but in reality they’re doing the exact same thing the republican party did to Bush. They’re trying to disassociate themselves from him because he’s kryptonite to having any influence after him.
A: And of course he fell on his own sword, not meaning that he was actually held accountable for anything but him and his public image. And so to them, even though they were behind him the whole way, they’re able to disassociate themselves from him because everyone just kind of remembers him, him and Cheney, Rumsfeld to a certain extent but there’s all these other players that still are there. But as you’re saying they’ve just kind of distanced themselves from those very kryptonite forefront people.
R: Oh, absolutely and it seems like they’ve actually been pretty effective at it to a certain extent. Some of the old faces like William Kristol and Kagan, they get hassled everywhere they go on the media about being Neocons or whatever and they just laugh it off.
A: Yeah but Bill Kristol’s on Crossfire twice a week and I’m just like “why is this person…”
R: I think this is their relaunching point, now is the time for them to come back out. I mean Dan Senor was Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisor, but now you’re starting to see him on all these shows too, going out and talking about shit and he wasn’t a public figure for a long time. Around the time that this letter was sent to Clinton, telling him basically to go into Iraq, and just repeating weapons of mass destruction over and over again, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, who are two other co-signatories of this letter and the Rebuilding America’s Defenses document, they presented another document to the sitting [correction: incoming, not sitting] prime minister of Israel at the time, Benjamin Netanyahu, this think tank, and the name escapes me right now, its a different think tank and it’s essentially a very small one-off little think tank that only wrote I think this one document, and the document is called the Clean Break Strategy. In reality, many people who’ve seen this document that they wrote for Benjamin Netanyahu, i believe in 1996, they were paid to write this strategy up, and it’s considered to be the blueprint for not just the invasion of Iraq, which they also happened to advocate in there. They advocate overthrowing Saddam Hussein, waging proxy warfare against Syria, Lebanon, and Iran in the document. But they also advocate for building more Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, they advocate for building more walls in Gaza, which they actually did. A lot of this clean break strategy was followed in Israel. It’s also a blueprint for the war on terror in the way that we treat terror suspects, because it was advocating a much harsher view, a much more preemptive way of defeating Hamas and Hezbollah.
A: So already kind of adopting the former Israeli defense minister [Ehud Barak] who said on the morning of 9/11 that this is a game changer, we need to start acting like Israel does with the war on terror, so it’s almost like they were already seeing how Israel treated Hamas and dealt really harshly with dissidents, and they were asserting that blueprint back then
R: Which obviously fundamentally creates a very big problem where you could be really simple about it and say “oh, well all these Neoconservatives are just Zionists and they love Israel and hate Arabs” but I think it’s more complicated than that. There was cross-influence between the Neoconservatives and the Israeli government policy at the time, these very prominent Neoconservative writers to write this “clean break” strategy, and that’s also another instance when Richard Perle is asked what his involvement was in that strategy he’ll say “Oh I think I put my name on that but I don’t even remember what it said.” He literally acts like he had nothing to do with it.
Reporter: Richard, will you take us back to that memo that you, Doug Feith and others wrote in 1996 for the incoming Netanyahu administration at the time, because so much goes back to that original document being the cornerstone of a Neoconservative foreign policy.
Richard Perle: Right, well let me say a couple of things about the document first, it was not written for the incoming Israeli prime minister, who’s probably again going to be the incoming Israeli prime minister, Netanyahu. It was the product of the study group, in fact it was written essentially by one person without much regard to the study group, because I don’t think it met very often. I never met with the study group, my name was on this because I had signed up for the study group. So I didn’t approve it, I didn’t read it. Having said that, I don’t see any reason to disagree with its main points.
Robbie: More bullshit. And they constantly do this, it’s very surreal actually how they do it so much.
Abby: Well that’s the problem, and it’s great how they’re able to deflect everything and call everyone anti-Semitic if you simply point out anything with their pro-Israel stuff but you’re right, it goes beyond nationalism for Israel, or the fact that they may be Jewish, or Israel, or believe in Israel’s right now exist, it goes beyond that and it’s strategically adopting what they’ve seen work in Israel.
A: Yeah it’s strategizing beyond the superficial “oh its just about nationalism, this and that.” No, it goes beyond that. We’re talking about military strategy.
R: Yeah. I won’t really talk too much more about this, because it’s a honey trap that they’ve set up so that you get stuck in this argument of saying “oh well you must have dual loyalties” and all this shit, but that’s really what it is, what you’ve described. Francis Fukuyama is literally one of the only Neoconservatives that I’ve been able to find ever, that has spoken honestly about the subject, because all of them use that diversionary tactic, even Jamie Kirchick has used it at least three different times. He’s used it hundreds of times on twitter, we’ve seen his assholery on there, he’s constantly equating anti-Neoconservative writing or accusations to anti-Semitism, but he’s actually written full articles and done debates with people who’ve written critical writings on Neoconservatism, and tried to trap them in that trap.
Jamie Kirchick: I think its very irresponsible to accuse Jews, especially in the government, of dual loyalties. You’re accusing them of treason, and that’s inappropriate, that’s beyond the line.
Jamie Kirchick: Joe, you wrote that the Iraq war was because of Neocons plumping for war, you said that it raised the question of dual loyalties. That’s what you wrote.
Jamie Kirchick: I think one of the greatest lies of this whole Israel debate is the claim that you hear by so many people, that you can’t criticize Israel without being called an anti-Semite. Which is so annoying, because I have never heard someone legitimately criticize Israel and be called an Anti-Semite for it. I’ve heard anti-Semites…. well it depends on what you said and it depends on who said it.
Jamie Kirchick:…Very brave man for going after the Neocons, I mean come on, bullying? Who’s being bullied here? In particular, you accused Jewish Neoconservatives of plumping for war with Iran, so Jewish Neocons surrounding John McCain and his vessel Sarah Palin, polluting their minds, okay I think that’s….
Jamie Kirchick: So did Don Rumsfeld, so did Dick Cheney. to my knowledge, they’re Gentiles. Why is it the Jewish Neoconservatives who are singled out, that’s what I want to know.
Robbie: But, Francis Fukuyama was at a talk with William Kristol and a few other of the PNAC signatories, and someone from the audience asked that question, a lot of people asked this question when you see these Neoconservative Q+A sessions, which is what is the connection between Zionism and Neoconservatism, and why do you prefer Israel, how did this reputation even come about, and Francis Fukuyama just straight out said well I think It’s a shame that a lot of my fellow Neoconservatives have adopted what i see as an extremely far right Israeli Likud perspective on what the Muslim and Arab societies are actually like.
Francis Fukuyama: Just on this question of Israel, I think that Israel is important to many Neoconservatives, the problem is not divided loyalties or putting Israel’s interests ahead of the United States’, what I said in my argument with Krauthammer, the problem is that many Neoconservatives have adopted the point of view, the strategic prism of many hardliners on the Israeli right, including their interpretation of Arab motives and behavior, this idea that the Arabs don’t understand any principles of legitimacy, its only force that they respect. This sort of thing which then dictates a whole way of dealing with that region as a whole and I just said I think that that was a big mistake, and I think that that continues to be a problem. Krauthammer said that’s Anti-Semitism, but I don’t believe that that’s really what’s motivating me.
Robbie: And he didn’t use this exact language, but he was essentially saying, I can paraphrase him, that the Israeli right wing Likud view of the Arab world and Muslims is one of racism. And it stems from this idea of superiority, and painting Arab and Muslims and Palestinians as animals, as subhuman. To be able to, as a pretext for this extremely hawkish military viewpoint. You have to really think, where does that come from because people have always been racist in war and stuff but it’s really the racism in this specific case that greased the skids for the war on terror to be so effective.
Abby: Right, yeah, the foundation of Islamophobia.
R: It’s like rubbing Vaseline on a luge and flying down it. The Israelis had developed such a crude and offensive but also effective way of looking at Arab and Muslim societies, the United States just immediately adopted that viewpoint. And you won’t really hear Bush and Rumsfeld talking with that viewpoint and being racist on TV, but it was a climate that was created by a lot of these Neoconservative groups and by a lot of people like Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News which is sort of the dumbed-down Neoconservative rhetoric outlet, but he also owned the Weekly Standard, at the complete other end of the spectrum- the intellectual influence.
A: Yeah, and can we remind people really quickly what Bill Kristol wrote about, this was very recently before all this Kirchick stuff went down with the RT hijacking of the narrative, using it to promote anti-Russian fervor. But Bill Kristol had written an article kind of outlining the goals of the FPI, saying that they needed to rally people, that the only thing missing to re-assert dominance over Russia and how Russia is this new… what was the actual thing in the mission statement? Basically that Russia’s another player that we need to be asserting ourselves against. A rising global power, China and Russia, and in the article and we’ll link to the Truth Dig piece again, everyone needs to read it if you haven’t already. But it basically is William Kristol saying that the only thing missing is the rallying. The rallying to get people behind another war, to get people behind this new standoff with Russia, is the rallying. So when you tie that together with his puppets, people like Jamie Kirchick, like Rosie Gray and like Eli Lake, who else is doing the rallying for them? These are the people doing the rallying. The rallying is making people turn against Russia in every sense of the word. Of course Russia’s not a perfect country, of course Putin is not a good guy, but it’s very strange and telling when you have them writing out what they need to do, what they’re looking to do and then it’s fucking happening with the people who are working for them. That’s not a “conspiracy”, this is what’s happening.
R: Yeah. The Weekly Standard, they wrote about Iraq and WMDs for years before Bush got into office as well. After they wrote this letter to Clinton, it was one of their regularly occurring things that they would talk about. And they were also one of the outlets that was trying to drum up fear about Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden in the very late 90’s too. This also can tie in to the Anthrax a little bit, William Kristol and Robert Kagan said that it was “very likely” that Saddam Hussein was behind the Anthrax attacks on October 29th of 2001, and that was the reason why the US and Bush had “no choice” but to “destroy” the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.
A: So you’re saying Bill Kristol is one of the first people to inject that propaganda in the narrative early on about Iraq’s ties to Anthrax, interesting.
R: Yeah. So here’s the interesting trifecta- Robert Kagan, the co-founder of PNAC during the immediate wake of 9/11, was writing a bunch of articles and eventually wrote a New York Times bestselling book about how Europe just doesn’t understand America, because we’re this strong nation with a destiny to fulfill this mission to spread democracy all over the world, and Europe can’t stand in our way. He spread that rhetoric out there and that’s I think what helped grease the skids for the eventual UN vote. Where it was inevitable, and it was like well, “fuck the UN”, essentially. Kristol planted a bunch of the seeds about WMDs in Iraq, he was one of the ones along with Perle who was planting those seeds constantly before 9/11. Richard Perle went on television and said that the next attack was not going to be the same after 9/11, he said it was going to be biological. So either these guys were extremely prescient, or they were influencing- maybe both, maybe they were very prescient, and also influencing people to commit horrible crimes. We started to have an extreme backlash, maybe 2 or 3 years into the Iraq war against it, and people like Kristol and Dan Senor became celebrities of the wrong kind. Richard Perle was extremely hated and I think that these people had to go back into hiding, and that’s kind of what they did- they laid low for a few years, they tried to do things do disassociate themselves from Neoconservatism, and it gets really interesting and actually really surreal when you watch a video of Richard Perle inviting 20 authors to do a Q&A session with him where he was letting them ask him questions about an op-ed that he wrote where literally the subject was “there’s no such thing as a Neoconservative foreign policy”.
A: Excuse me?
R: And all of you authors, who spent the last decade writing about this Neoconservative foreign policy, I’m here to tell you that you’ve written garbage, “none of it’s true”, “there’s no such thing”. And I’m going to sit here and just stoically deny it up and down.
Richard Perle: There is a Neoconservative foreign policy, it was the policy that dominated the Bush administration, and the people who subscribed to it bear responsibility for the deplorable state of the world. None of that is true of course…
Abby: It’s so weird how even after all of that, after everything that happened, even after pinpointing how these people inserted the wrong narrative at the wrong time to get the policy going in that direction, even after all this is laid out, they can still sit there and say “I don’t know what you’re talking about” to just deny that it exists, like saying there is no conservative media, it’s the liberal media , there is no this, it’s that. This isn’t real and what you’re seeing is not real. Don’t mind the red door, the red door doesn’t exist. It’s just such a weird strategy and I guess it just makes it so much harder to argue because you’re like well fuck, now I’m on the defense trying to explain that it even exists, let alone interrogate you about what you did.
Robbie: It is a very clever misdirection attempt, and I think Jamie Kirchick wrote an article in 2006 maybe even a little later, maybe 2008 [correction: The article was written in 2007 titled The Anti-Neocon Fervor], about how it’s intellectually dishonest to call people Neoconservatives simply because they want a more “muscular” US foreign policy. They always have this argument- “that according to polls, almost all Americans believe we should have, so what you’re saying is that I’m just like most of America, and that’s not a Neoconservative belief at all, that’s a normal American tradition to believe that”
A: That’s the problem- when you have military aggression being spouted off from every single mainstream media channel, when 90 percent of the media is owned by 6 corporations, then of course polls are going to reflect people not knowing any better, feeling like we should protect the homeland. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy of militarism and American exceptionalism. “Well the majority of people think that America’s exceptional” why the fuck do you think that?
R: Yeah, it’s actually really interesting that they wait ten years for a lot of these ideas to soak into the mainstream consciousness, and re-frame a lot of the ways that we look at things, and then sit back, especially someone like Robert Kagan. Robert Kagan is probably one of the lesser known figures in this movement.
A: And talk about who he is really quick.
R: Robert Kagan is the husband of Victoria Nuland who was the US – NATO ambassador under George W Bush, and now she’s serving as the spokesperson for the State Department. She was caught recently on a leaked phone call saying fuck the EU
A: And basically saying who they were going to put into the Ukrainian government when it got overthrown.
Victoria Nuland: When I talked to Jeff Feltman this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy, Robert Serry , did I write you that this morning?
Geoffrey Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.
Victoria Nuland: He’s now gotten both Serry and Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday, so that would be great I think to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it.
Geoffrey Pyatt: And I think that we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it…
Victoria Nuland: Fuck the EU
Geoffrey Pyatt: Exactly…
[addition: Several weeks after this transcript was posted, Geoffrey Pyatt tweeted the below photograph.]
Robbie: Robert Kagan was asked on C-SPAN, “how does this work?” that your wife advised Dick Cheney during Bush, and now she’s a spokesperson for Obama’s State Department. How do you explain that you yourself were Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisor during his campaign but then now you’re advising Hillary Clinton and the Pentagon? He says “I think that a lot of people outside Washington have this cartoonish view that it’s the Democrats vs. the Republicans, but in reality there’s a bipartisan tradition,” and this is what he said that’s actually true, but he’s saying it as if it’s a good thing.
CSPAN interviewer: This is a how-does-it-work question- you’re married to Victoria Nuland, the last time she was here, she was the ambassador to NATO under the Bush administration, spokesman at the State Department, prior to being NATO ambassador she worked as a foreign policy advisor for Dick Cheney. Outsiders looking in, the conspiracy theorists want to know how does this work?
Robert Kagan: Well again, I’m glad by the way she’s the face of American foreign policy in the world and not someone like me, so that’s one good thing. You know, I think that people outside Washington perhaps have a more cartoonish view of things than those of us who’ve worked in Washington for a long time. My wife and I have both been in Washington when we’re not overseas since 1982, it’s a long time. The foreign policy community, people who really make foreign policy their profession, whether they’re in government, in the think tanks, it’s a community, it’s a small community but sometimes people I think on the outside say “well, she worked for this person, she worked for that person, I don’t understand.” There is something of a bipartisan foreign policy tradition in the United States which she embodies really.
CSPAN: As outsiders though, looking at this process, would you be concerned that everybody knows everybody, and they’re all different parties working behind the scenes together?
RK: Well, you know, paranoia is a great quality as Richard Hofstadter once pointed out but I think it’s good. I think the fact that people of different parties…
CSPAN: This is from the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Kagan serves on the foreign policy advisory board of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, but more notably in this election season , is the Foreign Policy Advisor to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.” What about the first one, what’s that all about?
RK: Well, Secretary Clinton has set up this Foreign Affairs Policy Board, it’s called, it’s a bipartisan group.
CSPAN: Again, you’ve been known as a Neoconservative, is that a fair label?
RK: I’m not thrilled with the label because I don’t know what it means anymore, but that’s right
RK: I dare say we will find more continuity, and I know this is a horrific thing to say, between George W Bush’s foreign policies and also in terms of dealing with terror, and some of Barack Obama’s policies…
[addition: This last part was a quote from an official Foreign Policy Initiative talk where Kagan rates Obama’s foreign policy early into his presidency. link]
Abby: That right there is absolutely amazing. And I think people really need to think about this for one second. About the two-party system when you have this guy who did serve for Mitt Romney and now he’s advising for Hillary Clinton, his wife is there working for Obama, she worked for Dick Cheney. What is going on here? Why is the foreign policy continuous and why is there barely any change? We’re not going in there with ground troops, but there’s little to no change when it comes to how the US exerts itself around the world. There never is, and it comes out of the minutiae of domestic policy. I just think it’s really important for people to realize that. I hear people all the time still saying “can you imagine if John McCain won, we’d be in Iran right now.” Okay, so is that a reason why we should have voted for Obama? To prolong the war that’s coming?
Robbie: It’s such bullshit and I think that’s one of the interesting things about Kagan, I think he transcends in a lot of ways the traditional ways that you can describe these people, Neoconservative, Neoliberal, war hawks, or whatever. Kagan is someone who seems totally transparent at least on the front that there is no difference between Democrat and Republican when it comes to foreign policy, and when you listen to a lot of his talks and you hear him and read some of his writings, it almost mirrors in a way some of the writings by Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and you’re thinking to yourself this is really fascinating that a guy who is so hawkish, who has this much influence in government, and who is related to all these horrible foreign policy positions, is actually writing things that you would see in a Howard Zinn book about how American hegemony has existed since post WWII, and that since post-WWII we have always been trying to spread democracy through our military and all this stuff. But, what the difference is, is that to someone like Chomsky and Zinn, those things are bad, and to someone like Kagan those things are good. “They’re in the tradition of the American way, they’re embedded in our heritage as Americans”
Robert Kagan: We should be willing to use our military to advance our ideals and these days that’s perceived of as a radical idea, and only a very small fringe of Americans could possibly believe that, but what I’ve discovered in my research is, and what I think I’m able to demonstrate time and time again in my book is that that is the mainstream, traditional American view. What people call Neoconservatism, I actually call a mainstream bipartisan view that has been dominant in this country and in this town for quite some time. Everybody from Dean Acheson to JFK to Ronald Reagan.
Robbie: Of course, someone like him and Kristol will always deny that our foreign policy’s dictated by corporations or industry, but they agree in part with Chomsky and Zinn that our foreign policy took a drastic turn after WWII, one of preemption. One that actually was not operating in terms of defense anymore at all, but Chomsky and Zinn will make the case that it was corporations and if we wanted to invade this country it wasn’t necessarily because of communism, but because of protecting this trade route, for this product.
Abby: It all comes back to them kind of poo-pooing that as well, I want to say one thing really quickly- it was based on a myth. The myth was that America basically ended WWII, that America defeated the Nazis, it’s almost like America gave itself the moral authority and the moral exceptionalism from that point forward to do whatever the fuck it wanted preemptively around the world. But it’s all based on a lie. If anyone’s studied or watched The Untold History of the United States, it’s far from the truth that the US came and saved the day in WWII. But it does seem like that’s when things shifted in terms of that moral exceptionalism and the re-assertion of the US as the main superpower moving forward.
R: Absolutely, even Cenk Uygur, I’ve seen him say this which i think is pretty accurate- that the CIA was sort of at its outset was designed to be an arm of corporate military, a paramilitary force of corporations. We can’t possibly sell these things to the American public for any sort of moral justification. The CIA will carry out a lot of the paramilitary operations to protect sugar exports or things like that. And that is what was one of the largest forces that drove the Cold War, we want to protect this whole new world order of corporate money and industry, and trade internationally, and the Soviet Union is in our way.
A: Think about even just that whole framing of the debate, when it’s capitalism’s good, communism is bad. If you’re looking at the marriage of how it started early on, with corporate influence over the US government, and western governments. It’s amazing looking back at how strong that was and how much that played a role into the Cold War. It’s something that we don’t really think about, we think about it now as this corporatocracy crushing everyone, it’s never been more overt. But it really did start way long ago and helped win out. Even Nazi Germany, all the corporations that were benefiting then have never been held accountable. It’s another part of history that’s just untold.
R: Robert Kagan tries to rewrite American history, and this is what’s most amusing. You could make the argument that we’ve always had a doctrine of preemption even since before, all the way back to WWII. But the rhetoric wasn’t like that back then. With Iraq, that was a very clear case of pure preemption, one of the most egregious cases of pure preemptive warfare based on zero threat whatsoever. Even Vietnam made more sense. You could argue that a lot of these other wars and the rhetoric made more logical sense on it’s face, not saying that they were actually good or that they were logical. But what he tries to do is go back the founding fathers, and he claims that the Declaration of Independence is one of the most important foreign policy documents of our country, which is an extremely bizarre thing to say.
A: How does he justify that?
R: He claims that there’s wording in the Declaration of Independence, and there is, but he interprets the wording that says that to preserve the freedom of man, by that the founding fathers meant that it was our duty to provide freedom to man worldwide, beyond our borders.
A: That’s absurd. Can you imagine if another country said “well it’s in our constitution that we could protect man so that’s why we’re doing this.”
R: And so to justify that rationale, he goes back to some of the perspectives that a lot of Americans had back then, that they were the greatest nation on Earth, that they had this destiny to fulfill
A: Does that make it right? Even if that were true the founding fathers said that, this expansionist mindset in place, would that be okay? None of that even makes sense.
R: No, I don’t even think he’s trying to say that. My theory about what he’s doing is he’s almost trying to clear the playing field so much to make people forget who Neoconservatives were and what damage they did. So he could be like “Wait, no! We were always part of the American tradition, we were never a diversion of that mode of thought, we were always here.” It’s just weird, it gets really bizarre when you get deep into this. Someone called into the C-SPAN program he was on and they asked him “Well what do you have to say to people who think that this is imperialism, what you’re describing. We’re doing this to make money and spread our power”. And he said “Well, we are a nation of selfish people and sometimes our national ideals- spreading democracy- will run parallel to a self-interested goal.” He doesn’t really elaborate on it, but he acknowledges that the idea exists
Robert Kagan: We also take actions that are in our self-interest and sometimes we blend the two, and I thought that’s what you meant by blurring things. We blend our idealistic motives and our self-interested motives, we’re a nation of human beings and human beings are selfish people.
Abby: That’s a really, really tricky talking point that I’ve heard a lot lately. “Well, we can’t help if it lines up with imperialist goals. Grow up, this is the way the world works. Sometimes interests have to align.” And you’re like but why? One interest does not mean that the other one isn’t influenced by that. Your goal of imperialism is obviously predicated on the fact that you are imperialist, It’s just a really strange way of muddying the argument. “No no no, we care about democracy, but we can’t help if spreading democracy aligns itself with a crazy militaristic imperialist nation”.
Robbie: Yeah, and even if you accept Kristol and Kagan and the Neoconservatives at face value, and you actually believe that they believe what they’re saying, in almost all their writings, they accept by default the idea that American foreign policy is waged in this way because of our ideals, and wanting to see the world made in our image. In the image of good, democracy and freedom. So in some twisted, weird backwards way you could say that it’s a “noble cause”, to them. Even their stated intentions are deeply rooted in nationalism and American exceptionalism. A superiority of their intellectualism over other societies in general. And that the world needs to thank us for how good that they’ve had it, because without us it would be much worse since WWII. So that’s a lot of the backbone of what they claim to believe.
A: And they’ve also hijacked the narrative so much that if you disagree with them, then you’re an anti-American. It’s like no, you guys are the aberration of whatever America was, and whatever the foreign policy was.
R: But Abby it’s “In the grand tradition of Truman, of Reagan”.
A: Reagan was a great American, he didn’t tank the economy and destroy the middle class at all. It’s interesting though, and it really all comes back to how you control language. If you just deny that you’re Neoconservative I guess. It’s just fascinating that that’s their strategy for so long- to detract from that as much as possible. Jamie Kirchick was writing articles not that long ago saying Neoconservatism gets a bad rap because people are hanging on to this word, and using it as a pejorative when really it’s not bad, this and that. It’s very interesting.
R: Look how good of a job that people have done to rewrite history on Reagan and make him seem heroic. He was a worldwide joke by the end of his presidency.
A: Even though people mock him, you see Bush already being deified slightly in terms of people paying attention to his paintings and stuff. I looked at the front cover of the Wall Street Journal and it had Bush’s giant art exhibit, as if he’s a relevant figure now. Like Look!- Bush unveiled this art exhibit last week, and you’re like “I’m sorry, what?” This person should be in prison and you guys are acting as if he’s just another guy, “oh look it’s cool that he’s channeling his stuff into art, cool!” It’s like they just forgot about everything that happened and I think that we’re going to see the same exact thing when he dies later on. It’s super disturbing.
R: And fast forward this all to today- the Foreign Policy Initiative, the think tank that essentially rose from the ashes of PNAC, on the surface it doesn’t seem like they have too much influence. But when you read about what things that they’ve heavily advocated for, and what what things they’re advocating for now, it gets a little scary to think that if the climate is just right in this country, just like what you were saying- that war-weariness editorial that Kristol wrote a few months ago, where he says that the rallying will be quick.
A: He’s basically opining about how sad he is that people are so war-weary after Iraq was such a failure. His whole thing is just “unfortunately Americans are really war-weary”, oh I wonder why dude? Because we’re completely bankrupt- two illegal and immoral wars, one to destabilize a country the other has troops there that are dying- oh I wonder why we’re war-weary? And he’s basically saying we need to turn it around.
R: We need to turn around and it’s “understandable” why we’re war-weary but “it’s not admirable”, is his actual quote. And it just goes back to his whole philosophy and his father’s. All the other fucking sociopaths- I don’t even want to call them insane, because that’s almost complimenting them. They’re not. They’re sociopathic- using Machiavellian tactics, manipulate the public discourse unemotionally, knowing they are doing it. The idea that he puts forth in this editorial saying that the rallying will be quick, he knows from past experience that if the atmosphere is right, if people are scared enough, if people are flooded with enough propaganda like in the news, constant everyday coverage of Crimea and the Ukraine, what are we going to do about Putin, day in day out. If the elements are placed just right it will catch like wildfire, it will be like an out-of-control blaze- all it needs is the spark, and that’s the scariest part to me. Once that happens, then you can kind of believe, and this doesn’t give any excuse to Obama or Kerry or any of those other fucking assholes, but you can almost see how something like that, a spark leading to a fire that big, would almost make the White House fall in line with it. The power doesn’t necessarily have to come from the White House first and then emanate outward, it could come from outside in too.
A: That’s what they’re doing in all these other countries, like Cuba, Ukraine- they were fostering and fomenting an environment that when the rallying happened, the turnaround was quick in the sense that regime change happened very quickly. All these states that are non-puppet states in terms of- and I’m not saying independent in the sense that they’re free and fair- I’m just saying they’re non-puppeted by US hegemony, the CIA and the US government, USAID, whatever the hell else is going on, has fomented an environment that has very structured organizations on the ground that will be ready to rally, and that will be able to organize. We don’t have that, it’s why Occupy failed because there’s no structure that has a lot of funding that’s ready to move in and organize and figure out how we’re going to take advantage of the situation. It’s kind of like when things happen super-organically, it’s not as quick and efficient. When you have people like Bill Kristol setting up the structure, having these think tanks ready, having the policies written, having the prescriptions ready to go, having the machine in place- yeah, when the rallying happens, they’re right there and they’re going to be the first ones there. They’re going to be injecting it immediately and that’s whats going to be so fucking crazy. We’ve seen it time and time again, when they’re ready to go, they’ll take advantage of a crisis and use the fuck out of it. Push it as far as they can. The infrastructure is set up.
R: Not to be overblown whatsoever but the fact that the infrastructure is already set up is what makes this so dangerous. The Foreign Policy Initiative, which on the surface may seem like this insignificant think tank, is actually headed up by all the same people, who headed up and founded PNAC [Project for a New American Century], in their mission statement– this is their actual mission statement. It opens up in the first couple sentences saying “The United States and it’s Democratic allies face many foreign policy challenges, they come from rising and resurgent powers including China and Russia.” They come from other Autocracies that violate the rights of their citizens.” “They come from Al-Qaeda and it’s affiliates that continue to plot attacks against the US and our allies.” The Foreign Policy Initiative was founded in 2009 by Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol, and Dan Senor and if nobody remembers who Dan Senor is, he’s actually the spokesperson for Paul Bremer, who was the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Essentially the Iraqi dictator before they handed off power to the US puppet government. So these three guys started the Foreign Policy Initiative. When they speak about the fall of the Soviet Union, you can see this little glint in their eye and this feeling of nostalgia wash over them where they truly believe that during our Cold War with the Soviet Union, the world was a more stable place because things were in this yin and a yang, a balance of some kind.
Robert Kagan: All in the mistaken view that now that the soviet union was gone we would not need as large a force, and it turns out that in some respects, because the soviet union disappeared, we need a larger force ironically than we did during the cold war because the world has descended into some element of chaos since the end of the bipolar world. I don’t look back nostalgically on the Cold War, but there’s no question that the disappearance of the Soviet Union made possible Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and we have had to respond to this growing chaos ever since.
CNN reporter:….Does intervene, that they might even send in troops as they did in Georgia?
Bill Kristol: Well, they [Russia] certainly have intervened in all kinds of ways in Ukraine in the last few months and years but they could do even worse. So, look, it’s nice for president Obama to say it’s not a Cold War chessboard, I don’t know why he says with some disdain, that was not an ignoble thing for us to play on that chessboard for 45 years, we ended up winning that Cold War. And I do think Putin thinks he’s playing chess, he thinks he’s playing even a rougher game than chess, we have to be able to match him. We can say we’re all honored the people of Ukraine for beginning this process, but if we and the Europeans cannot make ourselves as strong a force for Democracy and rule of law in Ukraine as Putin is for the opposite, then things may not go well.
Robbie: If you think about it, us facing off with Russia again, even if it’s not exactly like the old Cold war but it’s just a similar thing where they’re a giant world superpower, we have this giant enemy again, instead of the war on terror. Because I think the war on terror to a certain point will outlive it’s usefulness as far as being a rallying cry for people to get involved. Personally invested or to even care. So something like Russia actually creates this opportunity where you have a country that has nuclear weapons and most people who are our age have this sort of memory of their childhood when we were pitted against Russia, where they were our main enemy. It’s the perfect climate right now, and this is two months I think after all this shit went down with Crimea and it’s still going. They’re still trying to Hitlerize Putin, they’re still trying to essentially ratchet up the tension between Russia and the US, and it’s mostly just the mainstream media with the help of all these foreign policy think tanks. The mainstream media is still heavily covering this, the more Putin actually makes moves into Ukraine, the more they’re going to be continuing to cover it- the media likes to cover a continuing story and milk it as much as they can, but in reality it’s only a handful of these Washington, DC reporters who are taking this hard line, more militaristic approach with this conflict in the Ukraine. Pretty much all of them happen to be associated with or directly working for the Foreign Policy Initiative, specifically Hannah Thoburn, Jamie Kirchick, Robert Zarate, Bill Kristol and even Dan Senor. All about how we need to beef up our NATO presence in surrounding nations of Ukraine, and to “show Russia we mean business”. Just to illustrate how similar their talking points are and how they’re echoing each other and parroting the same talking points from this FPI think tank, I’m not going to identify each one specifically.
TVNewsAsia reporter: Many here in Washington say that show of US support should translate into military backing for Ukraine.
Jamie Kirchick: Not boots on the ground, but a troop deployment in neighboring nation states, for example in Poland, in Hungary, just a way to show the Russians that we mean business. It does border four NATO countries.
Dan Senor: Missile defense capabilities in former Warsaw Pact countries that are part of NATO. Provide resources to former military resources, ground forces movement through former Warsaw Pact countries that are part of NATO. Expand the sanctions the Mitnitsky act has hundreds of Russians we could be sanctioning-
Joe Scarborough: So Dan, what does any American president do to stop Vladimir Putin if he moves west?
Dan Senor: We should beef up the security resources in the NATO countries that are former Warsaw pact countries, we should renegotiate and back up the missile defense capabilities, we have no way of knowing whether or not we’ll slow Putin down, but one thing we will do is send a message to the world, and the Iranians, and the North Koreans, and the Syrians, and you can keep going down the list who are watching how we respond to this- does America’s word matter?
Hannah Thoburn: If Putin wants to go after parts of eastern Estonia next, would NATO actually come to it’s defense, and I think sending those troops over there- and they’re very small amounts of troops, really just a 150, a company sent to Poland, and a reasonably small amount sent to Estonia as well for these exercises, it’s just a way of saying-
CNN reporter: You stand by that, you think we should have American boots on the ground in Ukraine?
Bill Kristol: I’m not sure we should, I’m sure that the president of the United States should not have ruled it out, and indeed what happens if Putin actually invades Ukraine? Are we really going to stick to the position that it’s inconceivable that we send troops?- we stuck to that position in Syria, Assad seems to have used chemical weapons once again. Let’s not talk about ground troops, how about maybe a little air power or air support, or providing weapons to Ukrainians? Would that be such a bridge too far for President Obama to go? So I think the people Nick saw in Ukraine are right to be disappointed in us and I say that with great regret as an American, because I don’t think we have an American president who is standing up to Putin in the way that Reagan did, and after reading that 1983 memo, before reading it too, to the Soviet Union.
CNN: Bill Kristol, a little hard to write off the Russian leader isn’t it? I mean sometimes it’s not really your choice what happens in foreign policy.
Bill Kristol: Exactly, I’m thrilled if the White House is studying what Harry Truman did in 1947, 1948 which is what the article suggests, what Truman did in 1947, 48 is help anti-Communists increase in Turkey, the Berlin era left, the tough stance of sending tons of troops back to Europe, to guarantee Western Europe’s ability to defend itself against the Soviet Union, and eventually a huge defense build-up. That was the Cold War. If President
Obama goes in that direction, more power to him, but I don’t think he will.
BBC Reporter: How best could the US, the west in general, and the government in Kiev handle it?
Robert Zarate: Sure, on the Russian side, because President Obama has said that there is absolutely no military option, including not just use of force but providing military advisors to the Ukrainian government, the Russians know that the worst that they’ll have to face is ostracization, and really hard-hitting sanctions.
Robert Zarate: It already is a de facto conflict between Russia and NATO, it’s just that we’re not acting like it is. But yes, if that were to happen, if Russia were to set it’s sights on the Baltic states, this would call into action article V of the NATO treaty, and the US and other European members would have to take very seriously the question of how would they collectively defend our NATO allies in the Baltics.
Robert Zarate: What’s problematic in retrospect, tragic, is that the president was so quick to say that there is absolutely no military option in Ukraine. We could have done lower-level things such as sending advisors, providing more timely intelligence…
FoxNews reporter: Foreign Policy Initiative’s Jamie Kirchick has just returned from Ukraine, where he spoke with the country’s Interior Minister and Jamie joins us now with his take on the situation in Kiev. What did you find when you were in Ukraine?
Jamie Kirchick: It seems that the United States and the West more generally has just sort of accepted this as a de facto- it’s just gone away. Crimea is forever Russia’s and when we oppose….
Eli Lake: There’s a force of at least 40,000 camped out on Ukraine’s border, Russian troops, there have been these spies or saboteurs, or Spetsnaz, that have infiltrated eastern Ukraine, similar to the tactic that we saw in Crimea. That is the kind of information that will be invaluable to the Ukrainians as they try to mount this kind of offensive and that is the view of some, such as General Breedlove, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander.
Wolf Blitzer: And this same fear of sharing intelligence information with Ukraine, the same reason i think is the fear of the US providing weapons to Ukraine, even defensive weapons, anything special expected to emerge from Vice President Biden’s visit there, he’s going this weekend?
Eli Lake: I’m not going on that visit but I know that Vice President Biden going there is very symbolically significant. It’s a way of saying that the west stands with Ukraine at this point, and you’re seeing it with these new assets being deployed that Jim talked about, and potentially these new sanctions, it’s a way of trying to create the deterrence with Russia while also giving them an exit ramp.
Wolf Blitzer: Eli Lake reporting for us, thanks very much.
Eli Lake: Thank you.
Jamie Kirchick: So things didn’t have to be this way and I think we need to stop making excuses for this regime in Moscow. They are the problem.
Abby: People who don’t understand think tanks actually do shape a lot of what goes on in DC, just simply don’t know how DC works, which are these policy prescriptions and recommendations written by by all these ex-politicians, and all these advisors who hang around. Karl Rove is still hanging around influencing a lot of stuff. These people never left the administration per se, in fact they probably have more influence now, because they just can be off the record, influencing all these things and sending out their minions to promote or parrot their talking points in the mainstream media, and when this happened 2 months ago, of course everyone already knew that the mainstream media was revving up another Cold War, resurrecting this narrative, but we didn’t really know who the players were or know what think tanks were pushing it. We didn’t really know that much beyond the surface level, “this is really crazy that the media and the political establishment are doing this”. But this event actually gave us a really good insight because it happened to me, so it drove us to look at who the players are behind the game.
Robbie: Exactly, and it turns out that who is driving it- on the surface it doesn’t seem like it’s the US government or the White House, their official statements don’t necessarily line up with the mainstream media fervor over Putin and Russia, however only very recently did we realize that a state-funded US propaganda outlet, Radio Free Europe was actually way ahead of the game on this and has been reporting stories like this, driving this kind of agitprop for years. And FPI had also been driving it, and was ready to go with all the stuff when the climate was right.
A: Yeah, let’s talk about who’s really out there shaping this narrative.
R: It all goes back to that tweet sent by the FPI’s twitter account, these people have twitter accounts now. PNAC was during an era when they didn’t have twitter yet. So now they’re tweeting things, and this time they happened to tweet: “In 20 minutes, watch RT, something big is about to happen.”
[correction: The exact wording was “#WordOnTheStreet says you’re really going to want to tune in to RT #SomethingBigMayBeGoingDown” link ]
I’m not quoting it exactly but they seemed to have foreknowledge that something was going to happen on Russia Today that day. And that something happened to be Liz Wahl’s [on-air] resignation. Then after the team-up of her and James Kirchick where they took the “freedom selfie“, he got the first exclusive interview with her, she started echoing his talking points, after all that shit happened, we didn’t realize until that information about the twitter thing came out, that there was direct foreknowledge by someone at the FPI- and that someone turned out to be Jamie Kirchick. He’s most well known for his supposed protest on RT, where he “protested” the gay law, when he was supposed to talk about how he thought that Chelsea Manning should be executed for leaking things to WikiLeaks. Which is just really bizarre that he got hailed as this hero, when the reason he was asked on is because he has this extremely harsh view on Chelsea Manning.
Jamie Kirchick: Being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I’m going to wear my gay pride suspenders and I’m going to speak out –
RT reporter: What about Bradley Manning first?
Jamie Kirchick: I’m not really interested in talking about Bradley Manning, I’m interested in talking about the horrific environment of homophobia in Russia right now.
Jamie Kirchick: Done! I only go on that station to fuck with the Russians, so…
Abby: Ironically, Liz, when she got demoted off the desk for like 7 months because of her behavior in the offices, she ended up going and covering the Chelsea Manning trial on assignment. It’s amazing that someone can spend months and months intimately involved with this trial, and then choose to link up with this public stuntman, who openly advocates for probably the harshest thing I’ve ever seen from someone around our age, advocating for the punishment of Chelsea. Super bizarre choice there.
[addition: William Kristol (the man Jamie Kirchick works for on two fronts: as a writer for the Weekly Standard and fellow of his think tank the Foreign Policy Initiative) co-authored a book which argues the distasteful point of view, how being gay is “a choice” titled ‘Homosexuality and American Public Life’ link]
Robbie: And the strangest thing about him which is just truly bizarre, and this is not something common among people who are in the media spreading propaganda but it happens to be the case in Jamie Kirchick’s case, which is he actually worked for a US government funded, pro-US propaganda outlet called Radio Free Europe. It’s so strange because of all the reporting he did for RFE, it mirrors exactly the type of reporting he’s done off of RFE, when he supposedly retired from being a US government mouthpiece. He’s going out there and he seems to have this extreme vendetta against Russia Today which kind of goes along the lines of a lot of the reporting he did for RFE . This is what he said about RT: “RT is a ridiculous sham of an organization. Russia shouldn’t be boycotted, it should be trolled. Boycotting gives them a sense of wounded pride and artificial importance, trolling they don’t know what to do with.”
A: Explains his actions, I mean he is a troll.
R: Yeah, and this is another interesting thing he says, especially being a former US government propagandist. He says “Anyone who works for RT in a free country like the US or Britain should be ashamed of themselves.”
Jamie Kirchick: I think it’s absolutely disgusting and reprehensible that anyone who lives in a free country would take the blood money from Vladimir Putin or the Ayatollahs, and those people who do should be named, they should be shamed repeatedly. Every day they go into work, they should be made to feel guilty by their colleagues in the journalistic community. Because they’re not journalists, they’re propagandists and they’re handmaidens to authoritarianism.
Abby: Wow, the fact that he even had the audacity to continue to call me a propagandist, or calls people at RT propagandists, when he is a propagandist. What?
Robbie: Yeah, and other people aren’t falling for it. We’re not the only ones who have thought, wow this is really strangely hypocritical that he’s putting himself out there as this face for gay rights, and “protesting against Russia”. This is from Wikipedia- “At first glance this seems to be a spontaneous protest against Russia’s laws, however, looking into Kirchick we discovered that his stunt was covering something sinister and hypocritical. His equally passionate article calling for Bradley Manning’s execution.” So it’s really fascinating when you go back and look at his Radio Free Europe reporting, he had his own column actually on RFE called “At Large” and has a little picture of him with a logo. He did an actual report funded by US taxpayers, keep this in mind, that this is a US Government funded propaganda outlet, so our taxes are paying for him to do a report on the psychology of 9/11 truthers.
Jamie Kirchick: Can you tell us now, and this is the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Would you say that 9/11 conspiracy theories are more or less prevalent than they were in the initial aftermath of the attacks?
Jonathan Kay: It’s an interesting question- 9/11 conspiracy theories didn’t really peak until late 2003 and early 2004.
Jamie Kirchick: Is there something that connects all conspiracy theories, you have ones on the right, you have ones on the left- is there a thread, ideologically or psychologically that connects conspiracy theorists, even though they might have different politics?
Jonathan Kay: Yes, they share the same basic structure, which is that there’s some central overarching puppet master…
Jonathan Kay: And in that conspiracy theory, the Jews were the evil doers. And they were creating wars and depressions and revolutions all over the world.
Jamie Kirchick: Is there an element of truth in any of these conspiracy theories- let’s take the 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Is there anything these people say, that is in some small sense accurate.
Jonathan Kay: Many things they say are accurate. If you interview conspiracy theorists, they will often point you to a lot of highly accurate information….
Robbie: He interviewed that guy who wrote a book called Among the Truthers and it’s a sort of psychological breakdown on why these people are so crazy, and how they’re dangerous to society.
Abby: The 9/11 truth movement, which is a movement that’s calling for a new investigation. I was a member of it, a pretty prominent member, I’ve evolved out of that movement, I still hold beliefs that we were lied to etc. But keep in mind fast forwarding to today, that James Kirchick was the first person to go out and smear me as a “truther lunatic,” all of the MSM and also the Daily Beast.
R: They called what you did a “Russian false flag”
A: Yeah, an act of “pseudo-dissidence”, a “Russian false flag”, it was published also on the FPI’s Facebook page. Very interesting.
R: If you search for Abby Martin on the FPI website, you find it six times, mentioned in their daily briefs. Almost all writings from Kirchick.
A: It’s all very unfavorable, contrasted with Liz Wahl, praising her as a “pro-American”, “anti-propagandist”, who “couldn’t stand to work at Putin’s propaganda network any more”. It was very interesting to see that this same guy has been following the damage of 9/11 truth back that long ago, and seize on this opportunity to smear me immediately. Interesting it’s the same person.
R: He connects to a lot of other DC insiders, when he was reporting for RFE, he was the surrogate expert for them on Eastern European political turmoil. From the Truth Dig article by Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek :
“Located in an office in Washington DC’s DuPont circle, FPI exists at the physical heart of the Neoconservative movement. It’s office is, in fact, the same place listed as the home of the Emergency Committee for Israel, a Likud-oriented PR group that wields Israel as a political wedge issue, routinely attacking Obama for being insufficiently supportive of Netanyahu’s policies, and baselessly trashing Occupy Wall Street as a haven for anti-Semites. Among the ECI’s advisors is Michael Goldfarb, the 33 year-old founder of the Washington Free Beacon, a Neoconservative online journal that churns out a relentlessly pro-Israel narrative advocating for war in Iran. At the same time Goldfarb has worked as a lobbyist for DC-based Orion Strategies, and it was through that lobbying firm that he cultivated Kirchick and a cadre of Neoconservative writers to generate commentary promoting the aims of the Republic of Georgia. A foreign client under the control at the time of the US-oriented government.“
R: This is an interesting and important component to this, because if you want to rewind back to 2008, when the conflict was happening between Georgia and Russia, the US government did not do jack shit about it. 2008 was pretty much the end of the GWB presidency, and by that time I don’t think he had the political cachet, and not only Bush but the Neoconservatives as a whole, PNAC had already been disbanded. they were just starting the framework for the FPI back then, so I think that at that time, ideally these Neoconservatives would have wanted to drum up anti-Russian sentiment back in 2008 but they didn’t really have their ducks in a row yet. They were re-organizing and I think that this guy Michael Goldfarb filled that void during that time and he got an expert on Eastern European politics, Jamie Kirchick, to help him drum up anti-Russian sentiment in the US. This is where part of the connection comes in between people like Michael Goldfarb of the Washington Free Beacon, working for essentially the Georgian government, which was a US puppet government at the time. [The connection between] people like Eli Lake, Rosie Gray and Jamie Kirchick. The Truth Dig Article goes on to say:
“With the direct coaching and promotion from Neoconservatives in Washington, [Georgian leader], Saakashvili adopted a confrontational stance toward Putin. Goldfarb wined and dined his Neoconservative pals on the Georgian government’s dime. As a result, a steady stream of columns and reports hyping up the Russian menace appeared in targeted media outlets. ‘Orion seeks to create a media echo chamber on Georgia and Russia,’ says journalist Ken Silverstein in 2011. ‘Orion is friendly to , and works with government officials and politicians who it’s reporter friends regularly cite. Orion also works very closely with experts in organizations cited by these reporters such as the FPI’. According to foreign agents registration documents filed by Orion with the Dept. of Justice, Goldfarb fed Georgian PR to Eli Lake, now a national security correspondent at the Daily Beast… Jen Rubin, currently a Washington Post columnist, who went on to take an ECI-sponsored trip to Israel, and Rosie Gray, the Buzzfeed reporter who produced a recent expose on RT. Ben Smith who hired Gray to work at Buzzfeed and who worked alongside Lake at the Neoconservative Newer Sun, was also named as a frequent Orion contact on Georgia. Buzzfeed Foreign Editor, Miriam Elder, moderated a State Dept. sponsored town hall meeting featuring Secretary of State John Kerry on March 18th.“
R: And remember that Miriam Elder is the same lady who was together on the Lawrence O’Donnell show with Jamie Kirchick, essentially calling you a lunatic and saying that what you did was an act of “Russian pseudo-dissidence”.
Jamie Kirchick: Yeah, I think this is a form of really managed or controlled dissent, the official or puppet opposition, and these are the parties and politicians who are paid and sponsored by the Kremlin, thats what Abby Martin is. This woman, we need to be clear, is an out-and-out lunatic, she’s a conspiracy theorist, she’s a 9/11 truther…
Robbie: This is just an example and insight into how a lot of these early 30’s reporters are essentially doing the bidding of Neoconservative think tanks and US puppet government PR firms. And not surprisingly, a lot of these Georgian PR firms fed, just like always, Eli Lake sources. Either anonymous or non-anonymous, to essentially base a series of reports demonizing the Putin regime. Specifically though, this is the interesting part, going along the lines of how Jamie Kirchick, David Frum, Richard Perle, and all these other Neoconservatives like to mention as often as they can, that Russia does false flag terrorist attacks. One of the main stories that Eli Lake wrote, was essentially arranged by Orion Strategies, this Georgian PR firm. He wrote a story that talked about a bombing near the US embassy. In an interview with Lake, he had a quote that the “bombings were ordered at the most senior levels of the Russian government”. So essentially what Eli Lake is reporting here is that the Russian government “staged a false flag attack” on a US Embassy. And to be absolutely clear with our listeners, we aren’t basing the connection between Eli Lake, and former government propagandists, and Neoconservative think tanks in Washington DC off of the Truth Dig article alone. We have video footage of him hosting a talk that the Foreign Policy Initiative put on entitled “Time to Attack Iran?”
Eli Lake: I think what Matt’s piece is more laying out, the conditions under which the United States should attack Iran, is that correct? Anyway….
Robbie: He also was the featured guest at a Foundation for the Defense of Democracy’s talk about the Al-Qaeda conference call, which we’ll talk about a little bit later.
Abby: What is surprising though is how little people can be writing this kind of material, but have their message reverberated throughout the establishment. You have Dave Weigel from Slate just echoing shit without even following up at all, or questioning anything. It shows you how bad journalism is, back to the beheading thing that you went through, seeing how people just parrot stuff. It’s a game of telephone but it shows you that you don’t need that many people doing this.
R: You don’t. Just a few, Jamie Kirchick wrote an article also for RFE called “How WikiLeaks makes confrontation with Iran more likely.” He wrote a series of stories in 2010 about the abysmal state of gay rights in Serbia and Belgrade. He had an article for them, and mind you this is US government funded, state propaganda. The article was called “In Serbia, Gay rights activists prepare for the worst” and not even just him. He wrote a series of articles about this for years, Radio Free Europe has been writing tons of articles on the Russian gay law.
Radio Free Europe: In Russia, a protest against LGBT rights took place in the city of _______. The demonstration by members of a pro-Kremlin group happened on the same day that a gay pride parade was supposed to take place in the city. The gay pride march was unexpectedly called off by government officials. Thats the video roundup from Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty.
Robbie: They wrote a bunch of articles during the Sochi Olympics about how corrupt the Olympics were. They wrote a bunch of articles about Pussy Riot. They wrote a bunch of articles trying to portray Putin as a Hitler-like figure. It’s really fascinating to me that this is actually an almost completely unheard of organization, I mean I had no idea they existed before this, that’s being funded by our tax money, that’s writing all this shit out there. Basically agitprop. Whether or not some of it’s true, a lot of the stuff is based on truth but it’s designed to-
Abby: It’s picking and choosing. You’re talking about one political prisoner, Pussy Riot- as sad as their case is, as unjust as what they went through was, compared to the 25% of the world’s prisoners we have here, or tens of thousands of people we have in jail for nonviolent drug crimes, it’s outrageous. We have the biggest prison-industrial complex in the world. So don’t talk to me about political prisoners in other countries. Solitary confinement is used very liberally here, that is torture according to the UN. You have to understand that when these talking points are pushed out, especially think tanks like this, it’s for a very specific reason. It’s called agitation propaganda.
R: It’s designed to redirect our focus away from complaining about problems here at home, to an easy scapegoat like Russia. Russia is an easy scapegoat, we were in a Cold War with them for so long it’s almost borderline reflexive the way that we could just easily just go back into that mindset as a society.
A: It’s also really foreign, I think the majority of people in America probably know very little about Russia. There was a poll done that polled Americans about Ukraine, I don’t know if you saw this, it’s actually really scary. because the more people didn’t have any idea where Ukraine was, the more they wanted the U.S. to militarily get involved. People even thought Ukraine was in the U.S., in the ocean. It was really interesting to think that people who don’t know where it is are that much more apt to support military intervention. Which shows you that maybe if they knew that Ukraine was right on the border of Russia, maybe they’d think oh wait, maybe this isn’t a good idea. It’s very interesting how stupid people are and how they’re supporting invading other countries or intervening without knowing anything about it, without even knowing where it is. They think it’s where fucking Fiji is.
R: They know that people are ignorant enough to lap it up. It’s not that hard to get a society to rally behind a war if the climate is just right, and that’s the scariest part.
A: If that’s all you’re hearing about on the news everyday, that’s all you think’s going on. There’s no other frame of reference to people.
R: This is where things get tricky. He started immediately writing articles for all these different, slightly smaller media outlets like Tablet Magazine, Haratz, the Weekly Standard. He’s not just a fellow at the Foreign Policy Initiative, and he’s also done a lot of media appearances on behalf of the FPI, but he’s also a fellow of this other think tank that’s equally as hawkish and Neoconservative called the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The director is the former CIA director James Woolsey. It’s just fucking insane, and it just goes to show that people who are outside of government are still trying to form policy, trying to at least influence it from the outside.
A: Yeah, Hayden is on TV all the time talking about the NSA
R: When it comes down to it, does it matter more that the White House initiated it, or does it matter who is the one who formulated the policy, the one who floated it out there and got it to stick. To me that’s the more interesting part of it.
A: If you want to talk about the “shadow government”, that’s it.
R: Yeah, and it’s not in the shadows, it’s completely hiding in plain sight.
A: It’s not talked about, it’s very minimized in public discourse, everyone’s focused on the elected representatives, when they are. Focused on congress.
R: You would think a lot of those names [outlets] I mentioned are conservative, but he’s also appeared a lot on the Daily Beast, which a lot of their articles seem really liberal…
A: And that also hosts Eli Lake.
R: Eli Lake, and they also have other people from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies writing there too, I see their accolades sometimes listed there.
A: Daily Beast almost seems like a shell network, really strange that it could host two people who are the forefront of this new Cold War.
R: They probably argue for diversity’s sake, different opinions but it is really interesting that a lot of this propaganda is planted first in those type of outlets. The Al-Qaeda conference call scoop was in the Daily Beast first. Jamie Kirchick wrote an article about how David Miranda [Glenn Greenwald’s partner] was involved in helping smuggle secret documents, and in this giant article, he also tries to bash Jeremy Scahill, claiming that he is borderline treasonous for his beliefs. He’s trying to portray Scahill as this apologist for Anwar Al-Awlaki, and the article is titled “Treason Chic.” He’s also tried to blatantly downplay the war on investigative journalism and whistle-blowing, he’s tried to say that only one government employee has received jail time under the Obama administration, for revealing classified information, which is blatantly untrue. He doesn’t include Chelsea Manning or a whole slew of other people like John Kirakou. The way that he links into Eli Lake is not just for that ridiculous picture they took together, do you know which picture I’m talking about?
A: Yeah, so after everyone mocked the Truth Dig article where Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek were saying that “Cold War hungry Neoconservatives stage managed Liz Wahl’s resignation”, which they did, stage manage is different than conspiring to make it happen. We’ve already made it clear that this was a mutually beneficial relationship where Liz Wahl was simply a useful idiot, I don’t think she knew really what Kirchick was all about or what the FPI was all about, which essentially proves her apolitical nature even more, but she knew that she would get huge attention, she knew that she could link up with Kirchick and have him promote her, and manage her resignation, which he did very successfully. But in response to this claim from Truth Dig, pretty much laid it all out, totally explosive expose pointing to all the connections these reporters have, but once they did that, Eli Lake, Rosie Gray and James Kirchick pretty much laughed it off. They didn’t really have any response, they just kept saying how ridiculous it was, that there’s this “conspiracy theory”, that they “conspired” Liz to resign, it’s just so funny . There’s this cadre of Neoconservatives who were celebrating her resignation and right after they were all mocking this article, that night they posted a photo from Rosie Gray’s twitter account saying “Sorry not sorry” and it was her, Eli Lake which is her boyfriend, James Kirchick and Liz Wahl, all sitting there drinking wine while Eli Lake is wearing [a shirt with the image of] Begin- he’s a terrorist . The former Israeli prime minister, who is responsible for horrible tragedies that even Reagan said was a war criminal, proudly wearing a picture of this guy on his shirt, just a really disgraceful display. And Max Blumenthal just shot back and said “Really, you’re not celebrating together? What are you guys doing then” It’s really bizarre.
[From left: Jamie Kirchick, Eli Lake, Rosie Gray, Liz Wahl. Photo from Twitter Truthdig]
R: One of the biggest “scoops” that Eli Lake brought forth was that supposed Al-Qaeda conference call, and he’s actually written multiple stores that were designed to counter damage done by the Snowden NSA leaks. Not just the Al-Qaeda conference call one, which was kind of “Look, the NSA is actually intercepting all these Al-Qaeda leaders who are talking to each other at once and conspiring to do new terrorist attacks”. The whole story if you really read his whole expose and you listen to him talk about it, it just sounds completely fantastical. It sounds totally made up. And it’s all based on anonymous government sources.
Huffpo reporter: The Daily Beast reporters, Eli Lake and Josh Rogin have uncovered the reason behind the terror alerts that prompted mass embassy closures across the Middle East. According to them, US officials intercepted a conference call between Al-Qaeda’s senior leaders and representatives and several affiliates in the region.
Anderson Cooper: And again, when you’re using the term “conference call” you’re not literally meaning a conference call.
Josh Rogin: Right, we’re not saying whether it was a phone-call, a video, and Internet voice or data, whatever, the bottom line here is that, consider it sort of like a virtual meeting space.
Anderson Cooper: There have been some reporters, frankly I’ve seen raise the question, “well is it possible some of your sources were using you, either to justify the NSA program…
Josh Rogin: It’s not really connected so I think that some people may be conflating those two issues where there really isn’t a really strong connection.
CSPAN announcer: The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies hosts this 90 minute discussion, that includes a look at the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda…
FDD host: You know, Amin Al-Zawahiri, had his IT guy come on and said explain to me what my handle is, how do I do this.
Eli Lake: Amin Al-Zawahiri’s IT guy is his son in law, guy by the name of ______, that’s his alias, and he’s in charge of a kind of technical committee in Al-Qaeda, they have engineers, they have their own encryption software, they have created a proprietary technology that allows them to have these kinds of remote conferences that allow for videos, and chat, it’s pretty amazing stuff and it’s advanced. They also have an intranet through other sites…
Eli Lake: They’ve developed some pretty impressive technology, what I’ve heard from my sources.
FDD guest: Yeah Eli mentioned he’s got a new piece, just now, concurrent with this panel, I’d go read that to understand better situation what the technology actually involves, how it’s evolved. When Eli and Josh first reported this as a conference call, people were saying well it can’t be a conference call because they’re thinking in terms of normal American business conference calls….
Robbie: The Obama administration really did order the closure of all those embassies around that same time, but what he did was he added the other side to that story. All these people were wondering, “oh was it because of terrorism you closed these embassies?”. Apparently it was because of some not as salacious sounding Yemeni terrorist threat or something. But what Eli Lake did is he filled in the other 50% of the missing part of that story, based on anonymous government sources explaining in detail how Zawahiri, and the Al-Qaeda representatives from every country that has an Al-Qaeda presence, they were all in this giant online, Skype-like conference call, basically giving out orders for all the new attacks they’re going to do.
Abby: And when we say “legion of doom”, we’re not pulling that out of our asses, he actually said that this is what that guy likened it to. It was like a legion of doom which is cartoon super-villains…
R: It’s DC comics, what that means is that his inside government source is a DC comics fan who’s spreading pro-US government propaganda. And what’s missing from that part of the story, on the surface it’s like “oh, okay he just wrote this thing to hype up Al-Qaeda again for the government, whatever. That’s probably what most of his reporting is anyways on terrorism, whenever he reports on terrorism it’s probably in that vein.” But if you look at it in the context of what other news stories were going at the time, the Edward Snowden NSA scandal had just broken two months before. So, what is this story in effect doing to the American psyche after you just heard the government is spying on everyone supposedly to protect us from terrorism, and then all of the sudden….
A: It makes people more okay with spying.
R: It’s like “oh my god! They had this giant conference call? Well fuck yeah we should still be spying. that’s crazy, let’s kill those fucking terrorists. Of course we should be spying on them!” It’s kind of an interesting counter antidote story to try to minimize the damage from that. Obviously it didn’t work, it had probably barely any effect at all, except it was the only time that I know that Eli Lake had been publicly exposed for essentially for being a government mouthpiece and/or a liar.
R: And we’ll link to that on the timeline.
A: He just gets these sources from anonymous government officials and just runs with them. And then everyone publishes them because they’re exclusive source on the inside.
R: And that’s how almost all of the big time mainstream reporting is done. Bob Woodward and all these people have made entire careers off that kind of reporting. He’s just another new guy who’s doing that.
A: Except for some reason he’s getting all the pro-government sources that make the government look really good.
R: 8 out of the 14 stories that Eli Lake has written in the last month and a half for the Daily Beast have been about Russia and the Ukraine. Constantly, and half of the stories rely on these anonymous government sources. One of his stories recently got repeated all over the place, I saw it posted on multiple places, that was all about how John Brennan the CIA director is going to Ukraine to share intelligence about where Russia’s troops are finally, after they caved to pressure because so many people were upset the US government wasn’t helping out the Ukrainian government. And it was bouncing off of a story that Jamie Kirchick wrote about a week earlier saying “Why isn’t the US government helping Ukraine? They’re just leaving them out there in the lurch” kind of a thing, “they’re not sharing this intelligence information with them like they should be”. Their stories just work perfectly with each other, they just echo the same talking points in different ways. Lake did a profile of James Clapper, Kevin Gosztola did a really good write-up about his whole expose on James Clapper and it was this extremely sympathetic portrayal of James Clapper where he makes him seem really sad, like he’s been unfairly portrayed. Kevin Gosztola goes back into Eli Lake’s past and finds out that he was actually spreading Iraq war propaganda during the peak of the Iraq war propaganda wave, back in 2003. Which is not that surprising, and he’s also responsible for publishing the propaganda that Bin Laden used his wife as a human shield. He also denies being a Neoconservative, just like Jamie Kirchick. Interestingly, he posted on April 1st, April Fool’s Day, Eli Lake tweeted “I am not and have never been a Neoconservative.” Anyways, Eli Lake has also tried to downplay the influence that Neoconservatives still have in DC.
CSPAN caller: Mr. Lake, I’m gonna put you on the spot, now we just had a Washington Post article that came out that C-SPAN completely ignored, that talked about how the other Neocon war mongers, Fred and Kimberly Kagan, were basically advising General Petraeus’ role, why aren’t we talking about this on C-SPAN?
Eli Lake: What is this, I mean seriously? The last time the Neoconservatives had influence and real power, would have probably been the end of the first Bush term, when Paul Wolfowitz was the Deputy Defense Secretary.
Robbie: It’s tricky again, this is how these guys actually are able to pass the smell test. Like we were saying earlier, being labeled a Neoconservative these days is almost career kryptonite. People don’t want to associate with Neoconservatives, it has too much of a stench that follows it from the era of the Bush administration and all the Iraq War shit. It’s interesting because it parallels all the stuff [that] we’ve played you. Some audio clips in this episode about how Wolfowitz and Richard Perle and Kristol all try to distance themselves, not just from the phrase Neoconservative but from the actual policies that they’ve endorsed with their signatures. They are intent on making Glenn Greenwald seem dishonest, they have a huge vendetta against him. Against RT, obviously. They’re just a small piece of this larger framework of different younger and more hidden Neoconservative reporters and think tank members who are all mostly in Washington DC.
Abby: Yeah, and David Frum, who was the author of the Axis of Evil speech under Bush, he was Bush’s speechwriter for a couple years or maybe less, he’s actually writing at the Daily Beast and the Atlantic.
R: Yeah, the Atlantic is another one too.
A: He just went to the Ukraine with Kirchick, probably on the FPI’s paycheck doing I don’t know what, you know? So David Frum is tight with him, which is really disturbing. And David Frum was just given room on the Daily Beast not too long ago saying why the Axis of Evil still stands, I mean he’s proud of this. Rosie Gray wrote that ridiculous expose on the inner workings of Putin’s propaganda network, it was just so ridiculous because that’s the way every network works, and much worse in other cases. I was just on the BBC, doing an interview, about an eight minute interview about the media coverage of Ukraine, and it was extremely adversarial. The host essentially insinuated that RT’s coverage was causing deaths on the ground in Ukraine, and then I kind of fired back saying that the UK and US’s partnership in crime has been undermining the democratic evolution of multiple countries for years through covert operations. He got really upset and ended the interview and then the interview just completely got pulled and will never air again, which is so funny that you see people like Rosie Gray claiming that RT is so different than any other network.
R: But Abby, Jamie Kirchick says that journalists for RT are “complete failures in their own countries who can’t get a job at MSNBC, CNN, BBC or any respectable news outlet.” Come on, BBC is a “respectable new outlet”…
A: Yeah, because they really entertain and offer a platform for marginalized third-party voices and grassroots activists and independent thought, yeah you’re right.
R: It’s just hilarious that one of the most vitriolic people out there, who’s rallying against RT, is a guy who used to work for Radio Free Europe, a US Government propaganda outlet. There’s not any irony in that because obviously it’s not genuine. Why would he have such a strong opinion against RT? If it was anybody else, if it was just a really Neoconservative guy who was really pro-US, I would take him more seriously. It’s just really funny. And it really can only mean one thing to me, which is that he is completely disingenuous in his outrage. It’s faux outrage, he doesn’t give a fuck. All he is doing, is he knows how to get that rhetoric out there, and that’s all that’s important to him. Maybe he believes in some of that rhetoric, maybe he doesn’t but he’s such a disingenuous liar, almost a pathological liar, a sociopath, that it’s really hard to even come down on the side of believing anything he says, to believe in any of the outrage that he claims to have about Russia or any of this other shit. Oh, and speaking of Axis of Evil, on Eli Lake’s little mini write-up when you click on his name on the Daily Beast website, it says “He is one of the few journalists to report from all three members of President Bush’s Axis of Evil- Iraq, Iran and North Korea.” I don’t know if that’s supposed to be funny or not.
A: It’d be funny if they weren’t actually friends with David Frum. When you’re friends with the guy who actually did write that, it’s really just disturbing. It’s really fucking weird.
R: And all these guys now, from the FPI, even the older guys, not just this next-gen Neoconservative bunch, but people like Dan Senor, who was the Paul Bremer spokesperson in Iraq, the Provision Coalition Authority, and Bill Kristol, are both going out into the media right now. Robert Kagan’s not that much of a public figure, he may be writing more books. Eric Edelman, the other founder of the FPI, he’s not really in public, but four or five people who are directly going out there, spreading the ideas of this think tank, on their own can do an immense amount of damage. And it’s not just them, they also have other little minions that go out to the media, let me tell you some of their names. Hannah Thoburn, is an FPI PR Spokesperson, you’ll see her occasionally in the press talking about Ukraine stuff, especially right now. Josh Rogin co-wrote the Al-Qaeda conference call thing with Eli Lake, I’ve seen him with some of these Neocon foreign policy think tank talks. Robert Zarate is the policy director and the public face of the FPI. You’ll see him around in the media very occasionally. You don’t see him around too much, though.
A: I wanted to offer some additions here. Steve Horn, the guy who dropped the ball on the Who What Why article, he followed up with a giant expose about Radio Free Europe and Voice of America, it’s actually really good. I was just going to read a couple things from it- during this firestorm on RT, and all the attention on RT, the US just gave, Barack Obama signed a bill on US international programming to Ukraine and neighboring regions, just on April 3rd. totally under the radar of the mainstream media, it passed very quickly with little debate in Congress. It injects 10 million dollars in taxpayer-fronted cash into VOA and RFE to air news coverage in Ukraine. In the actual legislation it says “the Russian government has deliberately blocked the Ukrainian people’s access to uncensored sources of information, and has provided alternative sources of information that are both inaccurate and inflammatory. The opinions and views of the Ukrainian people are not being accurately represented in Russian-dominated mass media. US international programming has the potential to combat this anti-democratic propaganda.” That is actually in the bill, explicitly to fend off RT’s hegemony in the region. And also in 2012, taxpayers paid 96 million dollars, and over the course of the decade, 206 million dollars.
R: Wow, so I didn’t realize how much money they had. I guess that’s not that surprising. What is surprising to me about Radio Free Europe is how they’ve stayed under the radar to people like you and me, and other journalists who want to investigate American propaganda. It’s so strange that they don’t have more of a presence in that sense.
A: Yeah, this is really really interesting. It talks about how RFE and VOA have existed not just to promote pro-American views, they were actually calling for violent incursions in the past. They’ve been an active player in a lot of these color revolutions, things like post-Soviet states, client states.
R: There’s all these different methods of getting American Government propaganda out there, and that’s a new one that we weren’t really aware existed at this level. Having a direct US media propaganda outlet without any sort of attempt to hide it. We have the corporate influence , and the US government’s influence over the corporate media, we have people feeding reporters like Eli Lake US government sources that remain anonymous. Propaganda that way, and there’s different ways of spreading propaganda. Then we have people who create this intellectually appealing but also easily repeatable talking point constructions about Ukraine or Russia, and why we need to build up NATO troops against Russia. They float those out into the mainstream media. People like Dan Senor and William Kristol. So there’s all different ways that this is happening. And all roads lead to the same thing- think about it that way. They don’t all have to be in collusion with each other. That’s really not how these things work, there’s not some sort of overarching control that all these things are working in tandem with each other, it’s a feeding frenzy almost.
A: They’re almost the most shameless and blatant about it.
R: The Neoconservative think tanks? Oh definitely. And you notice they jump in at what they think is going to be the right moment. That’s why they wrote this letter to Obama now, because they thought it was this ripe moment where they can affect change. When they wrote that letter to Clinton, they actually got Clinton to ramp up bombing campaigns in Iraq and unfortunately for them back then, it took 9/11 for them to be able to jump in again, but that was when they took their opportunity again. I don’t think there’s any reason to downplay or take lightly what they’re trying to do right now- they see this as an opportunity to put some of these things into effect, and that’s to me what’s scary.
A: And this is the same organization that was responsible for trying to push the Syria bombing campaign, they also were responsible for escalating the Afghanistan war, they have a lot of blood on their hands, not to mention the Iraq war and everything else. I’m just talking about a recent history, so if the people aren’t going to stand up and see through the rhetoric, there is a good chance that they will be able to really push forward for some really crazy policy.
R: They’re grooming young politicians like Marco Rubio, the FPI has hosted a talk or two with him, to express his views- he’s just saying things that he knows will get a good response there. He’s a typical politician, but then they also associate with the older, really hawkish politicians like John McCain, people like Mike Rogers- Mike Rogers is the guy who keeps saying Snowden is a Russian spy. Peter King- the guy who thinks that Glenn Greenwald and Snowden should be prosecuted. They’ve hosted talks with him [correction: Peter King has never to our knowledge appeared with the Foreign Policy Initiative, but very much shares the same ideology]. Mitt Romney, because Dan Senor and Robert Kagan were both advisors of his during Romney’s campaign. There’s a whole lot of crossover here and it’s not surprising that they associate with those politicians. The same ones that say some of the most disgusting and egregious stuff publicly.
A: There’s a lot of misinformation coming out right now about Ukraine, and it really is this region of the world that these Neoconservatives are trying to seize upon. I’m just hoping that Russia doesn’t do anything stupid- I hope they don’t go any more into Ukraine and I hope we can de-escalate that. Because if they do, then things are going to be really bad. I don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s still up for debate but in terms of the FPI, and RT, who knows? They’ll use whatever they can for the rallying. Eli Lake was already calling for a boycott of RT even before Russia was in the news. They have their sights set on the network, they know that it does damage, they’re pissed off because of how much damage RT did even to them. Even my little mono I think pissed them off. What was so funny is they kept saying it was an assault by RT, they kept insinuating the Truth Dig piece that RT did it, Rania and Max have nothing to do with RT.
R: “It’s by Russia Today”, or “it’s by Stormfront”. He kept tweeting to that Stormfront article which is a Neo-Nazi blog. [The Neoconservatives] believe in themselves so much and the power of American might, they truly believe that America has kept the entire planet in check for this entire post WWII era. They believe that we heroically swept in and won WWII, we defeated Nazi Germany, and that we’re here as checks and balances for the entire world’s protection. At this point, I don’t even think the possibility of some kind of dangerous confrontation crossed their mind when they’re thinking of going after China and Russia, I think to them it’s more like we need to realign ourselves to pivot against them like we used to be, otherwise we’re giving in to the power brokering. We’re sharing too much power with them almost, giving them too much leverage by not acting like that.
A: It’s almost in line with the Bush Doctrine- dealing with countries that you know are going to be a threat in the future.
R: It’s the ultimate version of that, that’s all they’re doing really. The Neoconservatives, they take that line of thinking all the way to the end, who’s the last men standing, it’s Russia, China and the United States. I think it’s very much about keeping the US in the role that it had directly after WWII, in this position of power. It’s either the bipolar world as Robert Kagan puts it, or it’s us vs. them. The more powerful the better because then that’s where the patriotism and nationalism, things that unify us, come from. That’s why war is the health of the state. It doesn’t have to be constant battles, fighting and violence, it just has to be that climate of 1984, of Oceania, a war is just kind of going on in the background. And the war on terror, it doesn’t matter if it’s not called the war on terror anymore, the war on terror was always just another name for an excuse to continue that US imperialism, just like always. It just takes new forms.
A: And that’s why we need to keep our eyes on these characters, we need to keep following their work and keep trying to interject the counterpoints and break through the conventionalism that they’re going to seize upon, rally the American people into supporting another war, we need to keep calling for peace and diplomacy and reminding people that that’s always an option and we can’t let people get sucked into this again. Because we understand how short the memories are of a lot of people living in this country. It’s like the United States of amnesia is what Gore Vidal called it, and it really is. We can’t even remember what happened five years ago. So we need to really keep on point, because we’re in a really tense situation. And we have to keep doing these broadcasts, keep breaking the set, keep exposing the truth and calling out these people, Robbie?
R: the only thing I have to add is the most recent events that have been happening. What started as a ground swell seemingly agitprop generated purely by DC think-tanks and various other non government entities, has now morphed literally into official US government policy. It might sound hard to believe, but John Kerry, Secretary of State actually went out and attacked Russia Today, the RT TV network on April 25th and called it’s coverage of Ukraine a “propaganda bullhorn”. Not only that, not only has the US government started to speak about the network, a State Department website called state.blog.gov. I never even heard of it, not until today. They have an article called ‘Russia Today’s disinformation campaign’. In the article not only do they claim that the Victoria Nuland quote, that we played earlier in the broadcast about the US putting 5 billion dollars on ground in Ukraine is false, but they also claim RT is causing death. It’s just interesting that they try to claim that these leaked recordings, the one from Victoria Nuland about 5 billion dollars wasn’t even leaked, it was recorded from a public talk. They mention your name Abby, so congratulations for being named on an official State Department dot gov website. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has also started writing articles about RT, very recently following in the wake of John Kerry’s statements about the network. Besides that, that’s where we’re at now, so sky’s the limit let’s see where this is going to go… pretty crazy.
A: Well thanks so much everyone for listening, check out mediaroots.org , recordlabelrecords.org, my brother’s music label, abbymartin.org, I’m getting a lot of new merch on my art site, and please donate to Media Roots to keep citizen journalism going. If you are a competent writer and you want to contribute, please email our point person at [email protected] and I’ll get back to you with how you can do that. Thanks everyone for listening, bye!
[song Urban Tribe – Her]