The Power Brokers
While US President George W Bush gives the appearance of being an ignorant, uneducated and semi-literate idiot, the forces behind him are none of these things. They consist of an interlocking group of highly organised, well educated, extremely wealthy and sophisticated group of individuals and organisations. Bush is their public mouthpiece whose appointment to the presidency by the US Supreme Court also put them in office. Their policies, which were drafted over the past decade in readiness for the Republicans gaining control of the White House, are now being implemented by the Bush administration. Ten years ago, they would have been considered on the fringe — too far to the Right to be taken seriously. Now they dictate military and foreign policy. Bush shares their highly dangerous and ultra-conservative politics and ideology. This grouping brings together ultra-Right (neo-conservative) Christians, equally extremist (pro-Sharon/Likud) Zionists and certain corporate interests including weapons manufacturers, oil corporations and a section of the media including outlets owned by Murdoch. In addition to being in government many are members of a group of "think tanks" with overlapping memberships. A number of them are to be found on the Bush administration's Defense Policy Advisory Committee Board (DPB). The DPB gives allegedly "independent" policy advice to the Secretary of Defence and his deputies. Almost all of Board's 30 or so members are from the private business sector. The Center for Pubic Integrity reports that the Board's members have ties to leading military corporations such as Boeing, TRW, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton and "at least nine have ties to companies that have won more than $US76 billion in defense contracts in 2001 and 2002". Some are registered lobbyists for defense contractors. In many respects these powerful, privately sponsored institutes have become the most listened to advisers to the Government, a role more often associated with government departments whose staff are directly employed by the State. This is one form of the "privatisation of government" that is now taking place in Australia. Policy-wise these organisations advocate: * US global domination and control over and exploitation of the world's peoples and resources, imposed by military means if necessary; * US leadership rather than UN leadership and the rejection of international treaties where they do not serve the interests of US imperialism; * increased military expenditure, in particular the construction of a "national missile defence system" — Star Wars II; * unilateral intervention by the US anywhere in the world, with or without UN support. Where it is not possible to form a coalition under US leadership, the US will act alone; * pre-emptive wars, the first strike use of nuclear weapons and strong opposition to arms controls treaties; * "regime change" in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority; * the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and support for Sharon's genocidal policies; * the rolling back and privatisation of social services such as public health and public education; * support for "free trade", "free markets", the World Bank and World Trade Organisation; It goes without saying, that while preaching freedom and democracy, they are rabidly anti-trade union and anti-communist. The notes below give a brief overview of some of the policy "think tanks", their leading figures and their links to government. It is by no means a complete picture. Organisations AEI — American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is an extremely powerful right-wing think tank and policy developer. More than 20 of its people are working for the Bush administration. It has a budget of around US$20 million. It is "dedicated to preserving and strengthening the foundations of freedom — limited government, private enterprise, vital cultural and political institutions and strong foreign policy and national defense". It publishes the American Enterprise magazine and holds regular seminars with high ranking speakers from government and military. Its members include Lynne Cheney (Dick's wife), Thomas Donnelly, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Newt Gingrich, Robert Helms, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Irving Kristol, Michael Ledeen, Richard Perle, Radek Sikorski. JINSA — Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs is another powerful ultra right-wing "think tank" which publicly declares that "there is no Israeli occupation". It has succeeded in its campaign to make Israeli "security" a central feature of US foreign policy. PNAC — Project for a New American Century is a leading neo-conservative think-tank advocated "regime change" in Iraq long before Bush came to office. Its white paper Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for the New Century was published in September 2000. It is almost identical to government policy — even the language used. Its members include Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol, John Bolton and Lewis Libby — all powerful operators in directing US foreign and military policy. Other important institutions include: The Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, the Center for Security Policy (CSP), Enterprise America and the New Atlantic Initiative (NAI). The People Some of those named below may not be household names but they are extremely powerful in the Bush administration. Many are to be found in one or another or even several of the above "think tanks". Bolton, John is the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control in the State Department. He is a PNAC member and was on the JINSA board of advisers prior to joining the Bush administration. He is believed to have been a prime architect of the Iraq policy of the US. Cheney, Dick is the Vice-President to Bush and a leading war-hawk. He is a founding member of PNAC and was on JINSA's board of advisers until taking office. He was Defence Secretary under Bush Snr and Halliburton chairman, whose subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root has secured lucrative contracts from the US army. He is a trustee of AEI and has numerous oil links including Chevron. His wife Lynne sat on the board of Lockheed Martin which makes Cruise missiles. Donnelly, Thomas is deputy executive director PNAC and principal author of Rebuilding America's Defences (PNAC) He is a columnist for The Washington Times and executive editor of The National Interest. His articles are also published in The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, Jane's Defence Week and he appears on FoxNews. He is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy. He is the director of strategic communications and initiatives of the Lockheed Martin Corporation (2002). Feith, Douglas was a JINSA board member before joining the Bush administration and is the third highest ranking executive in the Pentagon being the Under-Secretary for Policy. He has represented Northrop Grumman, a major arms manufacturer, as a lawyer and selects members for the government' s Defence Policy Board. Gerecht, Reuel Marc is a resident fellow of AEI and the director of the Middle East Initiative at PNAC and writes for The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other publications. He was a CIA Middle East specialist and consultant on Afghanistan for CBS News Gingrich, Newt is on the NAI advisory board and a senior fellow of AEI. He was Republican Speaker for the US House of Representatives (1995-1999) and an analyst for Fox News. Kirkpatrick, Jeane is on the advisory boards of NAI, JINSA; and the CSP. She is a senior fellow of AEI. Her former positions include membership of the Defence Policy Review Board and the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, US representative to the United Nations and member of White House cabinet. Kristol, Bill is chairman of PNAC and on the advisory board of NAI. He is editor of the Washington-based The Weekly Standard (a Rupert Murdoch paper). He appears regularly on television as a leading political analyst and helped shape the 1994 Republican Congressional victory. He served as chief of staff to Vice-President Dan Quayle. Ledeen, Michael is a foreign policy expert and former consultant to the National Security Council, the State Department and the Defence Department. He is a resident scholar of AEI in the Freedom Chair and on the JINSA advisory board. His articles include "Syria and Iran Must Get Their Turn". Libby, I Lewis is a founding member of PNAC and Cheney's Chief of Staff. He served in the Defence Department under Bush Snr and sits on the board of the Rand Corporation which has lucrative contracts with the Pentagon. Perle, Richard is a member of PNAC and JINSA's board of advisers. Until recently he was chairman of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Advisory Board but stood down amidst controversy over his relations with the failed Global Crossing corporation. He is a resident fellow of AEI. He writes for the Wall Street Journal, Daily Telegraph, Washington Post, and other papers, and was once a director of the Jerusalem Post. He is director of the software company Autonomy Corp and other corporations whose clients include the Pentagon and was Assistant Secretary for Defence for International Security Policy (1981-1987). He worked as an aid to former Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu and is a member of the Board of Advisors of Foundation for Defense of Democracy (FDD), a pro-Israeli organisation that "conducts research and education on international terrorism". Rosen, Stephen Peter is director of the Olin Institute and a founding member of PNAC. He is professor of National Security and Military Affairs at Harvard University, an advisor to the CIA and US Department of Defence and previously worked in the Department of Defense and the National Security Council of the Naval War College. Rumsfeld, Donald is a founding member of PNAC and a member of the advisory board of NAI. He is Bush's Defence Secretary and is credited with planning the invasion of Iraq. He also plays a key role in the allocation of reconstruction contracts in Iraq and has links with Bechtel (a major beneficiary of US wars). Shultz, George is a patron of AEI and is on the board of directors of Bechtel. He is chairman of the International Council of JP Morgan Chase that has interests in post-war "investment opportunities" in Iraq. He is a member of the Defense Policy Board. Sikorski, Radek is an executive director of NAI. He comes from Poland were he held positions of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (1998-2001), Deputy Minister of Defence (1992) and Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Solidarity party (1999-2002). He was News Corp's representative (1989- 1992) and a roving correspondent for National Review (1988-98). He became a political refugee in the UK (1981-1989). Wolfowitz, Paul is a PNAC member and Bush's Deputy Defence Secretary. He is an important ideologue in the Bush administration. Woolsey, James is a member of PNAC and a former CIA director. He is also a member of the JINSA board of advisers. His business interests include DynCorp, Titan Corporation, British Aerospace, Paladin Capital Group and Booz Allen Hamilton — corporations that stand to benefit from US wars. Notably missing from the list is Secretary for State Colin Powell, who is at odds with them over their methods, but not their long term goals. The positions held by these individuals show that there is an unholy alliance between government, corporations, the media and bodies advising the government. They are often one and the same persons.