Madeleine Albright, Godmother To Foreign Policy Disaster Today


Let’s not applaud uncritically former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, as occurred this month when she lectured on the foreign policies that she hopes Hillary Clinton will pursue as president.

Madeleine AlbrightAlbright, 78 and shown in a file photo, eloquently described on Oct. 16 why Democrats and progressives are best positioned to keep the United States safe. Albright's vision seemed well-received by the eighty or so attendees, mostly aged 20ish, at Center for American Progress, a prominent progressive/Democratic think tank in Washington, DC.

Yet Clinton has helped implement bipartisan foreign policies that are creating strategic and moral disasters, as evident in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and the mass migration of refugees to Europe.

On Oct. 30, for example, President Obama reversed his vow not to send ground troops to Syria and instead ordered deployment of 50 U.S. special forces troops with no apparent justification under international law to invade a sovereign nation uninvited. The 9/11 attack cannot be a rationale since Syria had nothing to do with 9/11 and the 2001 congressional authorization for force does not cover Syria. Furthermore, fewer than 20 House members are in support of the still-secret 2002 report on which countries funded 9/11 hijackers. The report reputedly identifies Saudi Arabia, a U.S. "ally" and alleged accomplice now of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Additionally, Obama's administration has had to confess in recent weeks that it has waged a four-year secret war run by the CIA against the Syrian government (so far unsuccessfully). Also, the president has had to cancel his vow to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of his term in 2017.

These are professional embarrassments that do not encompass the vast death and suffering occurring during his and predecessor policies.

More generally and importantly than any single policy reversal, Obama, Hillary Clinton, Albright and their colleagues often misuse the rhetoric of democracy and human rights to obscure sordid commercial and military objectives.

As illustrated below, Albright, Clinton and President Obama — much like their Republican counterparts — voice noble objectives for foreign policies sought also by the CIA on behalf of Western monied interests.

Examples? The expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into Eastern Europe, plus anti-terror, pro-democracy, and human rights initiatives in the Balkans, Africa, Iraq, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine, and too many other examples to count. These coincide with globalist policies on Wall Street and financial centers in Western Europe.

Perhaps most notoriously, Albright responded to a question by CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl in 1996

to a questioned about U.S.-led United Nations sanctions on Iraq:

Stahl: "We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?"
Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it."

Coincidence? Not.

  • A significant fraction of State Department personnel, especially in sensitive regions, are CIA personnel operating under diplomatic cover (as for other world powers);
  • Albright, both Clintons, and Obama, before they attained national prominence, developed mutually helpful relationships with the CIA and its front groups; and
  • Key executives at major financial institutions, foundations, universities and the news media are complicit in such CIA/NSA/FBI/ secret relationships — and know better than to make them public.

Thus, many of our country's most important issues have a hidden component.

To explore these matters here is merely to help readers understand the news, not to demonize or magnify the importance of the CIA and the score of other U.S. intelligence agencies.

The agencies are not necessarily power centers of themselves. Historically, the top leadership of the CIA and sister agencies implements the agendas of Wall Street titans (sometimes at Rockefeller or Harriman family fortune and foundation level). These captains of industry (and more recently captains of military, intelligence and communications sectors) preside also over the fund-raising and media hype for chosen presidential aspirants.

David Talbot "The Devil's Chessboard" Dulles Book coverThese points are readily illustrated by independent studies, including The Devil's Chessboard, a new book this month by David Talbot about the late CIA Director Allen Dulles, a former Wall Street lawyer for the highest-ranking oligarchs of his era. Some of that material appears in passing within another new book, The Clintons' War on Women by Roger Stone and Robert Morrow. Our own Presidential Puppetry tells the story in a more comprehensive fashion extending over a near century.

All of this is indebted to the late Georgetown professor Carroll Quigley (1910-1977), whose required two-semester course on Western civilization from 1941 to 1972 inspired future President Bill Clinton along with many other foreign policy students.

The Bushes are one such family still in the presidential news. Former CIA Director and President George H.W. Bush was the son of former Republican Sen. Prescott Bush of Connecticut, grandfather of today's presidential aspirant Jeb Bush.

Prescott Bush had been the Wall Street partner at Brown Brothers Harriman of Averill Harriman, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in U.S. history (inflation adjusted). Harriman was a diplomat, investor, media mogul, Democratic New York governor, and globe-trotting political kingmaker, based at times in the high-toned Georgetown section of the nation's capital.

At Brown Brothers Harriman in the 1930s, Bush was the leading U.S. financial liaison of Fritz Thiessen, the German industrialist who was the primary financier of the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's rise to power.

In this largely hidden but still-demonstrable history, the Bush and Harriman families thus made a major wrong bet on the future of Europe and democracy, as did many other well-educated elites within the overlapping worlds of finance, government, academia, and media. This story is chronicled by, among others, Professor Quigley in his two major books, The Anglo-American Establishment (1949) and Tragedy and Hope (1966).

Looking ahead, we now examine implications of foreign policy options offered by 2016 presidential candidates.

George H.W. Bush began his career as a covert CIA asset beginning in the early 1950s, a fact never mentioned during his 1976 Senate confirmation hearing, just as Prescott Bush's help for Hitler was ignored during the 1950s when Prescott Bush served as a powerful senator and close Cold War ally of President Eisenhower.

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush benefits from this legacy, including the active network of former Jeb Bush logointelligence officers created in the mid-1970s to fight sub-rosa for the CIA against Church Committee-era reforms. The network of former intelligence officers, ostensibly non-partisan, quietly supported such political figures as George H.W. "Poppy" Bush in his 1980 presidential campaign, just as some did in 2004 during the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" initiative in support of George W. Bush and the "OpSec" initiative against Obama's re-election in the summer of 2012 before Benghazi.

These days, the Democratic 2016 front-runner Clinton and leading GOP 2016 presidential candidates support a U.S.-enforced "No Fly Zone" in Syria, ostensibly to support democratic goals.

They thereby show either that they are puppets in the bipartisan war machine — or that they have learned little from the tactics that have so seriously hurt U.S. strength and created untold suffering in Iraq and Libya, and now for refugees fleeing into Europe. Hillary Clinton defied common sense during a friendly MSNBC interview Oct. 23 as she tried to explain how the United States could enforce a No Fly Zone against Russian warplanes without escalating situations into combat.

With that preamble, let's examine Albright's talk this month, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Foreign Policy and the 2016 Election, and her personal background and legacy.

These developments are explored below as a part of a series on foreign policy that began Oct. 13. It has presented so far (in chronological order): 

Obama, Indonesia, Genocide, Silence

President Obama, whose mother Ann Dunham brought him to Indonesia to live with her and her second husband Lolo Soetoro in the late 1960s, held a bilateral meeting on Oct. 26 at the White House with Joko Widodo, the seventh president of the Republic of Indonesia.

Obama described

as "a large Muslim country with a tradition of tolerance and moderation." The two presidents sat side by side but acted with stiff formality, as indicated by the 13-minute video below.

As clear from Obama's remarks, he is reluctant to voice even a hint about the CIA-initiated regime change in 1965 that led to the overthrow of the nation's first president and national hero, Sukarno, and a genocide of a million deaths while Obama was living there after the coup.

Obama's step-father was a pro-coup military officer and later an oil company executive. His mother worked in part for the Ford Foundation. During the Cold War, the Ford Foundation was one of the top conduits for laundering CIA funds for secret projects, according to The Chairman: John J. McCloy / The Making of the American Establishment, Kai Bird's authoritative biography of the late Ford Foundation chairman. (McCloy was also one of the seven members of the Warren Commission who covered up key facts regarding President Kennedy's 1963 assassination. But that cover-up remains too much of a hot-button issue even today for Bird to address with a blunt analysis.)

The president's years in Indonesia are merely a small part of the evidence of how his family on both sides was heavily involved albeit at relatively low levels of Cold War intrigues involving foundation work, intelligence, banking, and academics. One of Obama's many secrets is that his career was enabled by this mix of intelligence, banking, media and non-government organization (NGO) sectors, and so he knows better than most people that he walks a narrow line to appeal to the left but also to remember the core interests of his secret backers. Or else.

This gist, which we have often written about here and elsewhere: Far from being a radical or Muslim or even a heartfelt "community organizer," Barack Obama's political ascendancy was eased by the West's major financial powers who are closely allied with intelligence and arms sectors.

Timothy GeithnerAs one of many examples of either news suppression or simple ignorance by the conventional media, almost no one reported that the father of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had been the Ford Foundation boss of Obama's mother until Geithner himself broke the ice with a passing mention in his 580-page 2014 memoir, Stress Test

The alternative press, including our Presidential Puppetry, were free to report that kind of fact, which was not so much a scandal but one of countless examples of how tightly information is controlled about the president even regarding one of the Obama administration's most important appointments. In a 2009 White House photo, Geithner is shown with his wife, the president and vice president at his swearing in ceremony.

Washington observers see many examples every week of readers drowned in details on an issue, with potentially key (or at least interesting) facts missing. It's no wonder many readers say the news is boring. It's like being fed cake without sugar. It looks like a cake but it's not tasty.

No one knows why the president acted so stiffly at his meeting this week with Indonesia's president. The event received little news coverage, aside from several brief mentions on the official White House site, in the Jakarta press, and in reports about the epoch plantation fires that forced Indonesia's president to return home early.

But the reason deserves at least some informed speculation:

Obama has successfully hidden huge dimensions of his family's history, especially regarding their activities in Indonesia. Also, he has endured nearly a decade of essentially false claims from political enemies about his supposed radical and leftist ties that he could not dispute effectively without opening the door to his real secrets.

One need not be a credentialed psychiatrist to understand that an obligatory welcome to Sukarno's successor Widodo might create internal conflict for Obama on a personal level, especially given his pro-democratic and human rights rhetoric.

Although Indonesia and control of its oil and other raw materials have remained solidly within the Western orbit since 1965 the path has been difficult at times. 

All this is not to say that U.S. Democrats are uniquely under control of U.S. moneyed interests. Far from it. The oligarchs or what we call here the Puppet Masters have separate channels to groom and otherwise influence Republicans and opinion-leaders in the media and academia. The result is to ensure that neocon/neoliberal interventionism remains overwhelmingly dominant in Washington decision-making, no matter which party wins elections.

As shown below, however, aspirants to power typically choose a party at an early age. Therefore, they advocate their party's political success even if, once in office, their foreign policies do not differ greatly from the opposition party's. The main examples are repeated U.S. military interventions abroad and massive electronic surveillance of the U.S. population at home. This process is illustrated below.

Madeline Albright's Life and Legacy

Madeleine Albright led the State Department from 1997 to 2001 during Bill Clinton’s administration on a seemingly smooth course according to conventional political analysis. But that paved the way for many cruel and otherwise disastrous policies now reaching a crisis stage.

To be sure, there were successes also under her and her successors. Yet they receive more than ample praise from remarkably incestuous government-media relationships. whereby spouses or siblings of those who create major policies influence coverage at major networks and other outlets. So, the focus here is on what is rarely or never reported.

Even Albright’s pioneering status as the first female to hold her post comes with a taint that mars her successor Clinton, who held the post from 2009 to February 2013. Each use rhetoric extolling human rights (particularly women’s rights) and democracy to justify regime-change, war, and empire-building that has caused vast human suffering. Almost never do they lead meaningful condemnations of abuses by such allies as Saudi Arabia or Israel, or point to CIA-initiated and assisted revolutions and ethnic cleansing campaigns, as in the Indonesia of Obama's youth or the Kosovo of the late 1990s.

Albright’s two Republican successors Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice (skipping a one-day appointee) exemplify a pattern whereby the public face of American diplomacy at the State Department and United Nations is now increasingly female and black. So are several of recent national security advisors at the White House, a post that Rice held during President George W. Bush’s first term.

The increasing immersion of the United States into wars of choice and aggression with no substantial legal basis in international law, however, requires a different look at the officials normally profiled in positive terms as barrier-breaking examples of diversity and merit-based ascendancy.

Yes, that conventional wisdom still holds. Each of these individuals is indeed impressive in terms of expertise, eloquence, and other necessary skills. Yet additional factors include application of those skills to a bipartisan foreign policy that has cost not simply an estimated million lives in Iraq alone but the impoverishment of many millions more. One recent manifestation is the desperate flight Middle Eastern and African refugees into Europe. This flight is (among other things) now undermining political support there for their pro-American governments and for American foreign policy generally.

President Obama with Samantha Power (center), Tom Donilon and Susan RiceFurthermore, these foreign policy officials rarely raise serious objection on moral or legal grounds to the nearly unilateral U.S. military interventions across borders and across the globe so commonplace now.

Little but silence on these issues comes from current Obama administration UN Ambassador Samantha Power and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, two leading Democratic Party war hawks famed for seeking armed U.S. interventions on humanitarian and democratic grounds around the world.

Yet they are defiant in defending dictators and butchers regarded as allies of the United States. Perhaps the most vivid example in recent years is the U.S.-assisted genocide currently underway in Yemen as a Saudi-led coalition destroys its neighbor to the south in order to reinstall a puppet ruler the Saudi's have decreed as "legitimate."

President Obama is shown in 2013 with Power (at center), former State Department Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice in the Oval Office. The photo was on June 5, 2013, the day their current appointments were announced. The White House photo aptly conveys the administration's preferred image of a diverse and comradely team able to relax on occasion even when fighting valiantly for against terrorism and for human rights. 

An alternative reality exists. Obama’s announcement this week that U.S. Special Forces would officially be sent to Syria is merely the latest in a series of recent revelations of U.S. military interventions in the region with no congressional vote much less authorization under international law.

The administration has this month revealed that the CIA has led a secret four-year campaign to overthrow Syria’s president Bashar Al-Assad, who has been recently reinforced by Russian and Iranian military forces. That admission contradicts years of State Department and other lies claiming that the Syrian revolt was by local forces.

For such reasons, Albright’s lecture Oct. 17 provides a timely opportunity to recap her career.

Entire books have already been written about it, including five best-sellers by her recalling her experiences and expanding on her views. So we do not presume here to cover all ground. Moreover, she was commanding and otherwise impressive in her lecture, which is available via video in this column's appendix.

So today's analysis is merely one perspective, doubtless a minority viewpoint, on what is by Washington’s standards an extraordinarily successful career. Sadly, though, it is necessary part of a series of similar reports we have been providing this month on U.S. foreign policy/intelligence disasters and hypocrisies.

The Official Bio

A recap of Albright's career below provides clues why a bipartisan consensus on interventionist policies remains so persistent among elite circles in the nation's capital even when the results seem to turn out so badly.

Madeleine Korbel Albright, daughter of an influential Czech diplomat, chairs the Albright Stonebridge Group and Albright Capital Management, an affiliated investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets.

Her company bio states:

She was the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. In 2012, Dr. Albright received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Obama.

In 1997, Dr. Albright was named the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. As Secretary of State, Dr. Albright reinforced America’s alliances, advocated for democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade, business, labor, and environmental standards abroad. From 1993 to 1997, Dr. Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and was a member of the President’s Cabinet.

Prior to her service in the Clinton Administration, she served as President of the Center for National Policy; was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff; and served as Chief Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Edmund Muskie.

Dr. Albright is a Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She chairs both the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the Pew Global Attitudes Project and serves as president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. She serves on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board, a group tasked with providing the Secretary of Defense with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of defense policy. Dr. Albright also serves on the Boards of the Aspen Institute and the Center for American Progress. In 2009, Dr. Albright was asked by NATO Secretary General Anders Fog Rasmussen to Chair a Group of Experts focused on developing NATO’s New Strategic Concept.

Dr. Albright is the author of five New York Times bestsellers: her autobiography, Madam Secretary: A Memoir (2003); The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (2006); Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America’s Reputation and Leadership (2008); Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box (2009); and Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 (2012).

Dr. Albright received a B.A. with Honors from Wellesley College, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government, as well as a certificate from its Russian Institute.

Now for the rest of the story: How she made it and some of the implications for the public.

The basic facts of her life have been widely reported and analyzed. For reader convenience, the account below is drawn in part from a long Wikipedia bio.

The gist is that she has overcome obstacles hard to imagine. Thus, her many successes are even more dramatic and impressive than the summary above. The story also contains clues to the success, each flattering in itself and in the aggregate pointing to a success path that portends potential trouble for the public, at least from today's vantage point.

Why? In essence, she's almost too well-connected and for too long. Daughter of famed Czech diplomat and educator Josef Korbel, she married Joseph Medill Patterson Albright, a scion of one of America' most important newspaper dynasties.

Zbigniew BrzezinskiShe earned her doctorate in part with a graduate course under a top Rockefeller Family advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who later became her boss when he headed President Carter's National Security Council. Brzezinski, shown in a file photo, headed Columbia University's international relations department when Obama studied there, and served as top foreign policy advisor during Obama's 2008 campaign. Like many at the school, he says he does not remember Obama as a student.

Later, she held positions at Georgetown University and other influential organizations before becoming President Bill Clinton's first U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and being confirmed by the senate 99-0 as state secretary. Among notable events: three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which each did in 1999.

Also, NATO and the United States intervened on the basis of humanitarian principles into civil wars erupting following the post-Communist breakup of Yugoslavia. Killing and other abuses were rampant. Western powers focused primarily on those perpetrated by the majority Serbian populace and leaders of primarily Russian Orthodox background. The CIA, meanwhile, had been covertly supporting the predominately Muslim Kosovo Liberation Army.

Strobe Talbott

The intrigues are beyond this column's scope. The gist is that the suffering helped lead to a noble but vague and potentially sinister "Responsibility To Protect" doctrine at the United Nations where nations could bomb others with the claim of protecting human rights.  

Albright's deputy secretary was Strobe Talbot, shown in an official photo. Talbot, a Bill Clinton roommate at Oxford University, attained global stature shortly afterward because of his work at Oxford translating Khrushchev Remembers. The book, a blockbuster upon publication in 1970, was the secret memoir of the former Soviet leader denouncing in detail his Soviet predecessor Josef Stalin.

Talbot, whose work was doubtless of keen interest to the CIA, has gone on to run the Brookings Institution, the leading centrist "think tank" in Washington, DC.

In that role, Talbot he took the lead among eight powerful think tanks last February who jointly called for $3 billion in increased U.S. support for the new Ukrainian government that the United States helped install after the Maiden riots there.   

Condoleezza RiceMeanwhile, Albright's father built the University of Denver's international studies program into a major center. Known since 2008 the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, the school has become known as a center of global intervention enthusiasts of the neo-conservative and neo-liberal orientation.

Korbel's students included future Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, shown in her official photo.

Rice remains a revered figure in many neocon circles for her expertise even though she and her staff ignored many warnings regarding planned terror attacks and her co-author and later staffer Philip Zelikow was the top staffer for the 9/11 Commission report that failed to investigate many of the leading issues. On Oct. 29, Rice revisited the issues, as reported in Condoleezza Rice Hits Back At Donald Trump, Says George W. Bush 'Not Guilty' For 9/11 Attacks.

Also attending the Korbel School was Paula Broadwell, shown in a file photo. She was a biographer of former CIA Director David Petraeus and also his lover. Their scandalous relationship was exposed in November 2012, leading to the director's forced resignation.

Paula BroadwellBack in Washington, Albright developed a mentoring relationship with Susan Rice, daughter of a former Federal Reserve Board governor and a mother who was a Brookings Institution scholar. Susan Rice, a Rhodes scholar, African-American, and no relation to Condoleezza Rice, married a prominent television news producer, Ian Cameron. Following a stint as a financial analyst, she became a leading State Department official specializing in African and security affairs in the 1990s.

Albright, following her State Department service, is a leader in many business, academic and other civics projects. She chairs the National Democratic Institute, for example, which obtains government funding to work with a Republican counterpart to help other nations implement Western-style democratic institutions. That seemingly benign purpose is suspected by some nations, however, as a tool for potential U.S.-inspired dissent and regime change.

Among other initiatives, she teamed with former Clinton Defense Secretary William Cohen and former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger (now a top executive in her company) to issue a report in late 2008 offering guidance to the incoming Obama administration. The report sponsored by the Holocaust Museum and several other entities was Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for US Policymakers.

Fast forward to today:

Albright is reported to be a co-investor with Jacob Rothschild, the 4th Baron Rothschild, and George Soros in a $350 million investment vehicle called Helios Towers Africa, to buy or build thousands of mobile phone towers in Africa.

Among many other relationships, she is a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Also, she is a board member of the Center for American Progress, whose founder John Podesta is a former Obama and Bill Clinton White House advisor. The center's current president, Neera Tanden, was a White House aide throughout the Clinton administration.

In sum, Albright has become close to Western political and economic royalty — and all from humble beginnings.

A Closer Look: The Early Years

Madeleine Jana Korbel Albright, (born Marie Jana Korbelová) was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Her country's government disintegrated because of Adolf Hitler's ascendancy, which forced the family into exile in London.

In 1941, her parents converted from Judaism to Catholicism. Her father, an anti-communist, returned to a high-ranking appointment in Prague after the war. But the Soviet Union's control persuaded him to  send his family to the United States and take a post with the then-new United Nations.

Madeleine Korbel, who began her career as newspaper reporter, met her husband when she was an intern at the paper he worked. In 1997, the Washington Post reported in Albright's Family Tragedy Comes to Light that she discovered only as an adult the Jewish background of her family, including that three of her grandparents died in the Holocaust. Curiously, incumbent Secretary of State John F. Kerry had a similar experience, as first reported when he became the 2004 Democratic nominee for president: Kerry and the non-existent Irish connection

Under Albright as secretary of state, NATO expanded its scope into Eastern Europe after the break-up of the Soviet Union. NATO and European government institutions served as guarantors of Western financial and political interests that were promoted as pro-democratic, pro-free trade, and pro-human rights.

Thus, Albright and the Clinton administration rallied to the cause of the Muslim minority in Bosnia and Kosovo following the breakup of Yugoslavia. Amid widely publicized claims of genocide by Russian Orthodox Serbian leaders, the United States helped lead interventions and war crimes tribunals, targeting Serbian leaders especially. Slobodon Milosevic, Serbia's former president, was found dead in his cell in The Hague in the Netherlands in March 2006 after being arrested on war crimes charges years previously.

Meanwhile in the 1990s, Susan Rice served as a State Department official in Africa and Samantha Power advocated as a journalist armed interventions to thwart genocide.

That led to Powers' 2002 book A Problem From Hell, which helped lead to emerging legal theory adopted by the United Nations that nations can intervene across national borders to stop genocide and similar massive human rights violations. This is codified in Responsibility To Protect doctrine, which sounds humanitarian on its face -- but opens the door to unlimited global wars, much like the Bush administration's post-9/11 "Global War On Terror."

Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein White House PhotoPower, with a degree from Harvard Law School, joined the law school's faculty, married Obama's close friend Cass Sunstein, and like Sunstein joined the Obama administration. Vice President Biden swore her into office on Aug. 14, 2013, as portrayed in the White House photo showing her husband at center.

Sunstein, a widely published law professor at Chicago during Obama's teaching there and later at Harvard, became head of the White House unit overseeing all federal regulation. Power worked first at the State Department and then at the White House on counter-terrorism and national security issues and has been allied frequently with Susan Rice in advocating for military interventions.

Sunstein became notorious in some First Amendment circles beginning in 2010 for having advocated in an academic working paper and then in his 2014 book Conspiracy Theories that government subvert wrong-headed ideas by hiring covert agents in academic and journalistic circles to disrupt those who believe in mistaken ideas about government conspiracies, especially challenges to official accounts of 9/11.  

Obama named Sunstein last year to a five-man commission to reassure the public after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations suggesting that the agency systematically works with its contractors and allied spy agencies to record essentially all electronic communications by all Americans, as well as such communications throughout much of the world.

The commission's recommendation adopted by Congress and the White House was that NSA delegate electronic surveillance to private firms, which last week received legal immunity from citizen complaints. The commission recommended also that the NSA's surveillance program for Americans focus on "metadata" and not the other contents of communications.

The administration has scant effective response to critics who argue that the "reform" is nearly pointless because the private companies work so closely with federal authorities that the companies act in concert. Indeed, those who run the private multibillion-dollar communications companies approximate the power, in some sense, of their government counterparts.


Carroll Quigley

Summing Up

While adopting the spirit of the quotation above (and not necessarily the economic substance), we can imagine that Professor Quigley would have loved to study Madeleine Albright's impressive career in full, including her succession to a professorship at Georgetown and her leadership in almost innumerable global projects. Her ongoing success personifies much of what he admired about the well-educated mandarins who oscillate between government, business, and academia to help the Anglo-American establishment maintain Western civilization.

Yet even he, at heart and by profession a cheerleader for the establishment, worried that its inbred secret relationships could again lead to disastrous choices that a more diverse decision-making process was better equipped to prevent. That was the overarching them of The Anglo-American Establishment, first published in 1949.

The book described how the holders of several great fortunes, most notably the fabulously wealthy diamond magnate Cecil Rhodes, set up before their deaths a system administered by Rhodes's principal trustee Lord Alfred Milner. The so-called "Milner Group" -- assisted by the Rothschild banking family and some of the other most eminent figures in the kingdom -- became a powerful and secret network to guide foreign policy British decision making for at least a half century. A key method was to fund like-minded officials in government, academia, foundations, and the media.

Tragically, Quigley wrote, they misjudged some major issues. One was their misplaced confidence that Hitler, if appeased, would focus only on expanding eastward primarily to the detriment of the Communists running the Soviet Union. The public, meanwhile had no clue that supposedly independent figures shared a common bond, and so went along with the consensus of experts.

The Anglo-American future remains unwritten and otherwise murky, of course. On Oct. 30, however, commentator Justin Raimondo published The Revolt Against 'Democracy,'  a provocative column for those even beyond his normal antiwar and libertarian audience. In it, he ascribes the rise of Republican anti-establishment candidates Ben Carson and Donald Trump to revolt against the establishment and its corporate media, particularly the television networks.

BenjaminRecall also the remarkable government-media incest, whereby Susan Rice's husband has served as an executive producer at ABC News. That is one of many such situations. CBS News President David Rhodes is the brother of Ben Rhodes (shown in a White House official photo), assistant to President Obama and deputy national security advisor for strategic communications and speechwriting.

The pattern is bipartisan. During the last Bush administration, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Keven Martin was married to the president's Communications Director Catherine Martin. Mr. Media Regulator, meet spin-meister extraordinaire, your wife.

That doesn't even count the heavy covert infiltration of intelligence agency personnel and messaging within both establishment and alternative media that has served for decades to stifle or inflate various stories. For students of that process, the most troublesome aspect is not the fantasy that intelligence agencies have coerced the media but the reality that the private sector news outlet owners and top managers wanted thus to shape the stories.

Does the public have a clue?

"Here in the Imperial Metropolis, the captive peoples are growing restless, just as they are on the frontiers of the Empire," Raimondo wrote today. "Everywhere the spirit of rebellion against arbitrary authority is gaining strength and picking up momentum. This is what frightens our political class, which, up until recently, has felt safe in its Washington and New York redoubts.

With the two “major” parties under their thumb, and the media singing like a Greek chorus echoing their manufactured narratives, a very small group of plutocrats, political operatives, and behind-the-scenes fixers have manipulated the apparatus of “democracy” to their advantage, maintaining their monopoly on the reins of power. Yet that monopoly is now being effectively challenged, not only here but all over the world.

That seems far-fetched, however. This is the season of football and fall foliage far more than political rebellion. There's a reason the Power Structure has its name.

Even so, individuals can learn our shared hidden history and take necessary steps on a more informed basis wherever that journey leads. 


Coming next in this series: Implications of America's Syrian fiasco

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Related News Coverage

Madeleine Albright's Views and Career

Center for American Progress (CAP), Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Foreign Policy and the 2016 Election, Oct. 16, 2015. Although there are many serious domestic issues facing the United States, international events will also require the attention of the American people during the 2016 election. The turmoil in the Middle East, Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and Syria, as well as China’s growing assertiveness in Asia are just a few of the challenges facing the country — and Republican and Democratic presidential candidates are offering starkly different notions of how American power should be used to address these issues.

  • Opening remarks: Angela Maria Kelley, Executive Director, Center for American Progress Action Fund
  • Moderator: Rudy deLeon, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Action Fund

Remarks (as prepared for delivery): Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright (Excerpted), Friday, October 16, 2015

Thank you for that kind introduction and good morning to you all. It is always a pleasure to visit the home of the Center for American Progress and the CAP Action Fund, because this building houses an all-star team of brilliant people with creative minds and practical skills. Over the past decade, you have fashioned CAP into a treasure trove of information that thought leaders, journalists, and policymakers can turn to and trust.


Although I have been involved in many campaigns, when I was secretary of state I used to tell people that I had all my partisan political instincts  surgically removed. I have also developed close relationships with many prominent Republicans, including the unlikely friendship I struck up with Jesse Helms when I was UN ambassador and he was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Helms and I disagreed on pretty much everything, but we grew to trust and respect each other. And although it may seem old-fashioned, I still believe that for our democracy to function, our leaders must be capable of forging such relationships across the some ways it would be natural for me to stay on the sidelines of this campaign, but I have chosen to be involved for two reasons.

 First, I am concerned that there is growing skepticism within the American public about the benefits of U.S. engagement in the world, and I see it as my duty to speak up during this election season about why America must stay involved globally. Second, I believe that Democrats have an historic opportunity to win even broader support for a conception of American security that stays true to our interests and ideals – a progressive-minded internationalism that follows in the best traditions of FDR and Harry Truman.

The country saw our approach on display this week at the debate in Las Vegas, where the Democratic candidates engaged in a remarkably substantive discussion of the issues –including the question of America’s role in the world. The day following the debate I had the opportunity to talk to voters in Iowa, where I was campaigning in support of Hillary Clinton. It was clear to me that they found it refreshing to watch a civil conversation take place instead of the screaming matches we have seen on the other side.

So even though the general election is many months away, the contrast between the two parties is already well-established. One party has remained true to its best traditions – the other is becoming lost in the wilderness after making too many right hand turns. For voters, this has created a choice between a Democratic party that does battle against joblessness at home and terrorists abroad – and a Republican leadership in Congress that sees no greater threat to our future than Planned Parenthood.

Holocaust Museum, Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for US Policymakers, Madeleine Albright, Bill Cohen, and Sandy Berger, December 2008. The report asserts that genocide is preventable and that making progress toward doing so begins with leadership and political will. It provides 34 recommendations, starting with the need for high-level attention, standing institutional mechanisms, and strong international partnerships to respond to potential genocidal situations when they arise. It lays out a comprehensive approach, recommending improved early warning mechanisms, early action to prevent crises, timely diplomatic responses to emerging crises, greater preparedness to employ military options, and action to strengthen global norms and institutions.

Washington Post, Albright's Family Tragedy Comes to Light, Michael Dobbs, Feb. 4, 1997. Madeleine Korbel Albright was almost two years old when her parents whisked her out of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, less than two weeks after the Nazi occupation, giving up their life as a prominent Czech diplomatic family and saying goodbye to many relatives. Albright has spoken movingly of her past and of the importance that her family's experience with Nazis and later Communists has had on her political views. But she says she never was aware of what happened to family members who stayed behind in Czechoslovakia: Research by The Washington Post shows that more than a dozen relatives, including three grandparents, were killed as Jewish victims of the Holocaust. In an interview last week, Albright, who was raised a Roman Catholic and now is an Episcopalian, said her father and mother never talked to her or her two siblings about the relatives' fate or their Jewish background. She said she found the new information "fairly compelling" but wanted to conduct her own research into her family and its fate. "Obviously it is a very personal matter for my family and brother and sister and my children," she said.

Obama Administration

President Barack Obama talks with National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice

President Barack Obama talks with National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice in the Oval Office prior to a phone call with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Feb. 10, 2015 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

Washington Post, Obama to send small Special Operations force to Syria, Greg Jaffe, Oct. 30, 2015. The mission will involve less than 50 Special Operations advisers who will be working with resistance forces in northern Syria, but will not be engaging in direct combat, administration officials said. The move, which was recommended late last week by the president’s national security team, represents a significant escalation of the American role in Syria. It also reflects growing dissatisfaction with the halting progress against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The troops main focus will be advising Syria Arab and Kurdish forces who are expected to mount a military offensive on Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in the region in the near future. The push against Raqqa, if it yields results, would mark a major victory for the forces battling the Islamic State.

OpEdNews, The "War On Terror" Is The Hoax Foundation Of The Police/Spy State, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in a file photo), Nov. 5, 2015. The "war on terror" was a hoax. Americans were deceived by policymakers, who are pursuing a Paul Craig Robertshegemonic agenda. The American people were too trusting and too gullible and, consequently, Americans were easily betrayed by Washington and by the presstitute media. The consequences of the deceit, gullibility, and betrayal are horrendous for Americans, for millions of peoples in the Middle East, Africa, Ukraine, and for Washington's European vassals. The consequences for Americans are an aborted Constitution, a police/spy state and rising resentment and hatred of America around the world.

The consequences for Washington's European vassals is that the millions of refugees from Washington's wars are now overrunning Europe, causing social and political discord and threatening the European political parties that enabled, and participated in, Washington's massive war crimes in eight countries. As for Americans, they seem to have settled into acquiescence to the brutal police/spy state that has crowded out freedom and democracy. But Americans could do something about it. It is a proven fact that the police/spy state rests on a foundation of lies and deceptions. Are the American people really such washed-up sheeple, such cowards, that they acquiesce to a police/spy state?, The Revolt Against 'Democracy,' Justin Raimondo, Oct. 30, 2015. It’s election time in the U.S., and people are talking about subjects generally ignored in the woof and warp of everyday life. Insulated from the public, smugly ensconced in their own certitude, the “mainstream” media has routinely set the narrative of every election in modern times – but not anymore. Their reign effectively ended with the rise of the Internet and the explosion of independent outlets, like the Drudge Report – and, yes, – which have left them in the dust.

Yet the “legacy media” has stubbornly clung to their privileged position, mostly by their dominance of television – their last redoubt. But the time has passed when they could set the agenda, as Fox News and now CNBC have discovered. The rise of the GOP outsiders – Trump and Carson, who together have nearly half of the GOP electorate’s support in the polls – is in large part a revolt against the media, as well as the Republican Establishment.

I seem to recall a time when the news media was respected, and seen as the people’s shield against government abuse and corruption. Those days are long gone, as the revolving door between official Washington and the press corps keeps swinging and the two sectors meet and merge socially and ideologically. The Iraq war was the final nail in the legacy media’s coffin, as the New York Times and other major outlets played a key role in ginning up that disaster, acting as a transmission belt for the Bush administration’s lies about Saddam’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction. When the public becomes convinced that the “news” is simply propaganda, then trust goes out the window and all bets are off.

The revolt against the Establishment is manifested in the rise of Donald Trump, whose political demise has been gleefully predicted by pundits and journalists with clocklike regularity – even as his poll numbers soar to new heights. And the mandarins of Establishment wisdom are angry about it: GOP consultant Rick Wilson, a longtime  sycophant of the “donor class,” has called on Republican party bigwigs to “put a bullet in Trump,” and it’s not at all clear to me he meant this only figuratively. Trump, for his part, has called for Secret Service protection, and has so far not gotten it.

PBS, An Indonesian visitor under fire, Michael D. Mosettig, Oct. 27, 2015. President Barack Obama (right) delivers remarks after meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (center) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 26. When international leaders come to the White House, a military band often plays ruffles and flourishes and their country’s national anthem. For Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, a more appropriate tune would have been The Platters’ classic, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”

The Indonesian leader’s first visit to the U.S. since his election last year was supposed to be highlighted by two big announcements: that Indonesia would upgrade its strategic partnership with the U.S. (to the same level it has had with China) and its readiness to join the next round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that now involves the U.S. and 11 other nations. Instead, soon after Widodo (popularly known in his country as Jokowi) left his Monday White House meeting with President Obama, word came out that he would be cutting short his American visit to return home to deal with a massive carbon haze that has enveloped much of Southeast Asia from forest and peat bog fires in his country.

From Singapore to southern Thailand, air quality levels have quadrupled internationally acceptable levels and made urban vistas resemble those of Beijing in winter. The fires and haze are an annual occurrence from tree clearing and palm oil production, long deplored by environmentalists and made far worse this year by an El Nino drought. Some officials have estimated the fires and haze will not be contained until the November rainy season.

Barack Obama, Joe Biden and National Security Council Sept. 10, 2014

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with members of the National Security Council in the Situation Room of the White House, Sept. 10, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)

New York Times, Tom Donilon To Resign As National Security Advisor; Rice To Replace Donilon, Mark Landler, June 5, 2013. President Obama announced on Wednesday afternoon that Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations, would replace Tom Donilon, who is resigning, as national security adviser in a major shakeup of his foreign-policy inner circle. The appointment, which Mr. Obama made in a Rose Garden ceremony, puts Ms. Rice, 48, an outspoken diplomat and a close political ally, at the heart of the administration’s foreign-policy apparatus. It is also a defiant gesture to Republicans who harshly criticized Ms. Rice for presenting an erroneous account of the deadly attacks on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya. The post of national security adviser, while powerful, does not require Senate confirmation.

In his announcement, Mr. Obama referred to Ms. Rice’s role as an adviser during his 2008 presidential campaign and praised her work as a key diplomat during his first term. “With her background as a scholar, Susan understands that there’s no substitute for American leadership,” Mr. Obama said. “She is at once passionate and pragmatic. I think everybody understands Susan is a fierce champion for justice and human dignity, but she’s also mindful that we have to exercise our power wisely and deliberately.”

Mr. Obama also named Samantha Power, a National Security Council official, as Ms. Rice’s replacement at the United Nations. Ms. Power, who has written extensively about genocide, is closely allied with Ms. Rice on human rights issues. Mr. Donilon, 58, a central member of Mr. Obama’s foreign-policy team since he first took office, has exerted sweeping influence, mostly behind the scenes, on issues from counterterrorism to the reorientation of America to Asia from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

PBS, An Indonesian visitor under fire, Michael D. Mosettig, Oct. 27, 2015. Widodo cut short his visit to deal with a forest fire emergency. When international leaders come to the White House, a military band Joko Widodooften plays ruffles and flourishes and their country’s national anthem. For Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, a more appropriate tune would have been The Platters’ classic, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” The Indonesian leader’s first visit to the U.S. since his election last year was supposed to be highlighted by two big announcements: that Indonesia would upgrade its strategic partnership with the U.S. (to the same level it has had with China) and its readiness to join the next round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that now involves the U.S. and 11 other nations.

Instead, soon after Widodo (shown in an official photo) left his Monday White House meeting with President Obama, word came out that he would be cutting short his American visit to return home to deal with a massive carbon haze that has enveloped much of Southeast Asia from forest and peat bog fires in his country. From Singapore to southern Thailand, air quality levels have quadrupled internationally acceptable levels and made urban vistas resemble those of Beijing in winter. The fires and haze are an annual occurrence from tree clearing and palm oil production, long deplored by environmentalists and made far worse this year by an El Nino drought. Some officials have estimated the fires and haze will not be contained until the November rainy season.

President Obama, John Kerry, Joe Biden, Susan Rice, 3_9_2015President Barack Obama speaks with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice following a bilateral meeting with European Council President Donald Tuskin in the Oval Office, March 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)

Irish Times, Kerry and the non-existent Irish connection, Conor O'Clery, July 24, 2004. Who is John Kerry, the man U.S. Democrats will choose next week to run for the White House? For most of his life, people assumed John Kerry was Irish-American because of his name and his religion. He knew he was not, that his father's family had come from a part of Europe that was then in Austria but is now in the Czech Republic. But it wasn't until January 2003 that he learned in a meeting with Boston Globe reporters who had done some genealogical research that his paternal grandfather, Frederick Kerry, was Jewish. His grandfather was born Fritz Kohn in Bennisch, a town now known as Horni Benesov, to a family of brewers and shoemakers. i

Bush Administration

Huffington Post, Condoleezza Rice Hits Back At Donald Trump, Says George W. Bush 'Not Guilty' For 9/11 Attacks, Ned Simons, Oct. 29, 2015.Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has hit back at Condoleezza RiceRepublican presidential candidate Donald Trump for suggesting former President George W. Bush was to blame for 9/11. In an Oct. 16 appearance on Bloomberg TV, Trump pointed a finger at Bush for failing to prevent the terrorist attacks. "When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time," Trump said. "He was president, OK? ... Blame him, or don't blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign."

Rice said on Thursday: "I think Americans are not guilty for 9/11, I think President Bush is not guilty for 9/11." She made the comments when the Huffington Post asked for her response to Trump's remarks during a Q&A following a speech she gave at the Chatham House foreign affairs think-tank in London. "All Mr. Trump has to do is read the 9/11 report," she said. "It is incredibly exhaustive about what caused the problem. It is incredibly exhaustive about the challenges of intelligence when we had a very firm barrier between intelligence coming from the outside and intelligence that we could gather inside." Rice, who was National Security Adviser at the time of the attacks, did, however, say she personally would "plead guilty" to not having imagined terrorists would use passenger aircraft as weapons.

Center for American Progress

Center for American Progress, Screening and Discussion for New Documentary: We the People: The Market Basket Effect, Landmark E Street Cinema, E Street Cinema, Washington, DC. This inspiring new documentary traces the events that led 25,000 employees and 2 million customers across New England to stand behind embattled CEO Arthur T. Demoulas and wrest control of a multibillion dollar grocery empire from an activist board of directors led by Artie T.’s cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas. This vivid and thorough portrayal of the most memorable labor protest in recent American history, “We the People” investigates a question at the heart of ongoing economic debate: can regular people really band together to alter the balance of power in major corporations, or is the case of Market Basket a fairytale victory? Discussants: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), high-tech pioneer, sports team owner, film producer and former Market Basket "bagboy Ted Leonsis, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, film producer Nick Buzzell and Center Director Neera Tanden.

Center for American Progress, A Conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Nov. 10, 2015. The Center for American Progress hosted a moderated conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and CAP President Neera Tanden. They discussed a range of issues, including Iran, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and regional concerns, as well as ways to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States.

Jewish Insider, Netanyahu to Address Left-Leaning Policy Institute During DC Visit, Jacob Kornbluh, Oct. 27, 2015. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to address the liberal Center for Benjamin Netanyahu FrownAmerican Progress during his upcoming visit to DC. The event will take place at 3 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC. Netanyahu will discuss Iran, Israeli-Palestinian relations, regional concerns, and ways to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States, according to a news release. The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is devoted to promoting progressive ideas. The group called the Iran nuclear deal in July a “historic achievement” and “the best way to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.” The Israeli prime minister is expected to be in town for a meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Nov. 9. He will also address the Jewish Federations General Assembly and receive an award by the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

The Nation, Why Is the Center for American Progress Hosting Benjamin Netanyahu? Ali Gharib, Oct. 28, 2015. The Israeli prime minister has spent the last few years trying to sabotage the Obama administration’s foreign policy. So what’s with the invite?  When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes to town next month, he’ll meet with President Obama at the White House for the first time since the right-wing Israeli led a failed campaign to block the liberal Democrat’s nuclear deal with Iran. It was jarring, then, to see the news yesterday that Netanyahu would be invited to address the liberal Washington think tank Center for American Progress, a group that serves the purpose of fueling the Democratic Party with progressive policies and ideas. The Israeli embassy approached CAP, the Huffington Post reported (in an article in which I was quoted), and asked for an opportunity to speak. “He’s looking for that progressive validation,” a former CAP staffer told the news website, “and they’re basically validating a guy who race-baited during his election and has disavowed the two-state solution.”

Jarring, but not ultimately surprising—especially not to me. An important disclosure: I worked at CAP for more than a year, from 2011 through much of 2012, writing for the site ThinkProgress, mostly on Middle East policy. My stint there was defined by an attack on my and my colleagues’ work by pro-Israel groups; our taking a progressive stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pointing at pro-Israel figures as leading the charge for a war with Iran in Washington had attracted the attention of some of the Israel lobby’s nastiest apparatchiks.

The Intercept, Leaked Emails From Pro-Clinton Group Reveal Censorship of Staff on Israel, AIPAC Pandering, Warped Militarism, Glenn Greenwald, Nov. 5, 2015. Leaked internal emails from the powerful Democratic think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) shed light on several public controversies involving the organization, particularly in regard to its positioning on Israel. They reveal the lengths to which the group has gone in order to placate AIPAC and long-time Clinton operative and Israel activist Ann Lewis — including censoring its own writers on the topic of Israel. The emails also provide crucial context for understanding CAP’s controversial decision to host an event next week for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That event, billed by CAP as “A Conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” will feature CAP President Neera Tanden and Netanyahu together in a Q&A session as they explore “ways to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States.”

The emails, provided to The Intercept by a source authorized to receive them, are particularly illuminating about the actions of Tanden (right), a stalwart Clinton loyalist as well as a former Obama White House official. They show Tanden and key aides engaging in extensive efforts of accommodation in response to AIPAC’s and Lewis’ vehement complaints that CAP is allowing its writers to be “anti-Israel.” Other emails show Tanden arguing that Libyans should be forced to turn over large portions of their oil revenues to repay the U.S. for the costs incurred in bombing Libya, on the grounds that Americans will support future wars only if they see that the countries attacked by the U.S. pay for the invasions.

Washington Post, Center for American Progress, poised to wield influence over 2016, reveals its top donors, Greg Sargent, Jan. 21, 2015. The Center for American Progress, the preeminent liberal think tank in Washington, is poised to exert outsized influence over the 2016 president race and — should Hillary Clinton win it — the policies and agenda of the 45th President of the United States. CAP founder John Podesta is set to run Clinton’s presidential campaign, and current CAP president Neera Tanden is a longtime Clinton confidante and adviser. CAP recently rolled out a major blueprint for combat wage stagnation and inequality that many view as a template for a Clinton economic agenda, and there are surely more major policy statements to come.

So interest in CAP’s funding sources — and its internal workings in general — is likely to intensify and take on a political cast. Today, CAP is revealing its major 2014 donors, after taking some criticism for lack of transparency. The organization provided me two lists of its donors. The first is for the C (3), the nonpartisan think tank arm; the second is for the more political, issue-advocacy-oriented c (4).

Perhaps most notably, given CAP’s advocacy for an economically progressive agenda, is that CAP’s top donors include Walmart and Citigroup, each of which have given between $100,000 and $499,000. Other donors to CAP — a leading advocate of health care reform — include the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents leading biotech and bio-pharma firms, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, both of which have given up to $49,000. Still, many of CAP’s donations appear to be drawn from conventional funding sources for progressive organizations, including labor unions and charitable foundations.

Press TV (Iran), The Debate – Targeting Terrorists in Syria, Waqar Rizvi, Oct. 15, 2015. (Video). Debating (via side-by-side but remote questions) the current U.S. strategies against ISIS/ISIL are former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and investigative reporter and author Wayne Madsen, a former U.S. Naval intelligence officer and NSA analyst. 

The Nation, The Secret Donors Behind the Center for American Progress and Other Think Tanks, Ken Silverstein, May 22, 2013. Washington institutions esteemed for their independent scholarship don’t disclose donations from corporations and foreign governments.

Nation Editor's Note: We received a letter from the Center for American Progress on May 24, 2013 objecting to aspects of Ken Silverstein’s article. Core to liberal thought is the idea that evidence should come first and conclusions should follow. Ken Silverstein’s recent article insinuates a lot but the facts tell a different story. The inference at the heart of the author’s story is that corporate donations shape or drive the content of CAP and CAP Action. That assertion is baseless and completely false.


Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Kristen Breitwasser coverHuffington Post, Condi Rice: Here's Your 9/11 Smoking Gun, Kristen Breitweiser, Oct. 30, 2015. Kristen Breitweiser, shown on the cover of her memoir, is 9/11 widow and activist.

Dear Condi: I'm going to keep this really simple.In response to your comment that you could personally "plead guilty" to not having imagined terrorists would use passenger aircraft as weapons → please stop lying.

As proof, I provide the "Iron Man" documents from the Asymmetrical Threats Division of Joint Forces Intelligence Command (JFIC), also known as DO5, whose task it was to track UBL from mid 1998-mid 2001. I would first note that you were National Security Advisor to the President of the United States -- that means that you had pretty much access to anything and everything available regarding terrorist threats from groups like Al Qaeda.

Fourteen years later, everyone now knows about the summer of 2001 and the more than one dozen intelligence reports blinking red about an impending Al Qaeda terrorist attack. So please Ms. Rice -- with all due respect -- stand down and stop spouting lies like, "The idea the president of the United States was warned that Al-Qaeda was going to attack the United States and did nothing about it. Really? Do you think any president of the United States, if he had even an inkling there was going to be an attack, they wouldn't have moved heaven and earth to try to stop it?"

Because neither you nor President Bush nor DCI George Tenet, nor Vice President Dick Cheney, nor Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, nor FBI Director Robert Mueller, stopped these terrorists from killing 3,000 people. READ THE DOCUMENTS. KNOW THE FACTS. 3,000 PEOPLE WERE KILLED. NOT ONE PERSON HAS BEEN HELD ACCOUNTABLE. STOP THE LIES.

Justice Integrity Project, Pardon Plea For Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower Wins Press Backing, Andrew Kreig, Oct.  26, 2015. The impassioned plea by a CIA whistleblower’s wife for a presidential pardon for her Jeffrey Sterlinghusband has brought unusual support from several major media organizations. Holly Sterling (shown at right in Justice Integrity Project photo), wife of imprisoned former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, begged President Obama for her husband’s pardon Oct. 15 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. “Not only has Jeffrey suffered but so have his family, his friends, community and society," she wrote in her 14-page letter to Obama. "And now an intelligent, strong, ethical, and productive member of our world feels as though he ceases to exist while in prison.”

Politico, During Clinton tenure, State Department vetoed Bill Clinton events on Mideast, Josh Gerstein, Oct. 27, 2015. During Hillary Clinton's tenure as America's top diplomat, the State Department vetoed at least two planned events involving former President Bill Clinton due to concerns they could upset delicate Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, according to emails newly obtained by Politico. Top aides to Hillary Clinton were involved in heading off a meeting between former President Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in July 2010, as well as a speech the former president was planning to give at an event later that month marking the tenth anniversary of unsuccessful Camp David peace talks at the end of Bill Clinton's term, the records show.

RT International,

, RT’s Eunan O’Neil speaks with former CIA officer Ray McGovern, Oct. 16, 2015 (video). News broke Thursday that Wayne Simmons, who has been a regular panel expert for Fox News since 2004, and who claimed to have knowledge and experience as a CIA operative, had been arrested for lying about that very CIA experience on government documents. RT’s Eunan O’Neil speaks with former CIA Agent Ray McGovern about how the fallout will affect mainstream news and how agencies vet their people.