Is the Pentagon Policy Shop Funding Likudist Fronts?
Inter Press Service
Remember the curious and intriguing interconnections between One
Jerusalem, a Likud/settler group chaired by Natan Sharansky, and two
U.S-led "NGOs" with overlapping or interchangeable directorates the
"Policy Forum on International Security Affairs (PF)" and the newly
minted "Case for Freedom" that we discovered in the participants
list of the "Prague Democracy and Security" conference where George W.
Bush appeared despite the concerns of his State Department last June?
I wrote about the conference twice, once describing it as a
"Neo-Conservative International" and a second time focusing on those
very same connections under the title, "More on that Meeting in Prague."
Well, there are some new developments that raise fresh questions about
these groups, their provenance, and interrelationships. At the time of
the conference, the websites of both the Policy Forum (PF) and the
Case for Freedom (CCF) were "under construction," but now they're up
(click on their names and you'll see them), although the PF site seems
somewhat comatose. The second piece of news is that the Pentagon's
policy office formerly run by Doug Feith (a co-founder with
Sharansky of One Jerusalem) and currently directed by one of the
remaining neo-cons at the Pentagon, Undersecretary of Defense for
Policy Eric Edelman awarded a $79,416 no-bid contract to the Policy
Forum and its director, Devon Gaffney Cross (yes, that's Frank
Gaffney's sister) last September.
As I pointed out last June, Cross, who remains a member of the the
Pentagon's Defense Policy Board (DPB), a voluntary group that is
supposed to give policy advice (presumably untainted by any conflicts
of interest) to the secretary of defense, has been arranging
exclusive, off-the-record get-togethers between senior Pentagon
officials and prominent neo-conservatives and fellow-travelers at even
more exclusive venues in London and Paris. Among her guests have been
Edelman himself; former Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman;
ret. Gen. (and Surge architect) Jack Keane; neo-con heavyweights James
Woolsey and Michael Barone; and even sometime-neo-con/sometime-realist
Henry Kissinger. (Like Cross, Keane and Kissinger also serve on the
DPB.) But, because their sessions are off the record, we don't know
who else has been featured at these tetes-a-tete. Here are the group's
purpose and performance as laid out on the PF website:
"Our aim is to create an open channel of dialogue between those
who create the international news and those who report it, in an
effort to articulate more clearly and accurately the animating forces
behind American foreign policy.
The response to our efforts, among the media, has been both prompt
and enthusiastic â" [sic] editors of The Financial Times, The Daily
Telegraph, The London Times, The Economist, The Sun and The Spectator
have all participated in our discussions."
Leading columnists and members of editorial boards have at various
times been included, and visiting participants have written to us
emphasizing how important our gatherings have been in elevating the
level of discourse in the British press about American politics and
Until now, I had the impression that these little chats were privately
funded; as a former senior of several far-right foundations, a former
president of the Donor's Forum on International Affairs, and the
spouse of New York Jets president Jay Cross, Devon Cross is clearly a
woman of means who would presumably not have to resort to the public
treasury to spread the word to elite journalists about Washington's
good intentions in the Middle East. But here are the relevant excerpts
of the July 23, 2007 "presolicitation notice" put out by the
Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) Acquisition and Procurement
Office of the Pentagon:
"The Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) on behalf of the Under
Secretary of Defense for Policy plans to award a sole source contract
to Policy Forum on International Security Affairs (PFISA), a small
business, under FAR PART 13.5 in conjunction with FAR Part 12. The
purposed contract action is for services which the Government intends
to solicit with only one source in accordance with FAR Part 6.302-1.
This procurement is for technical support and consulting services for
public liaison and media outreach services in support of the diplomacy
mission including addressing and informing European and Middle Eastern
audiences on the challenges facing U.S. National Security policies.
The awardee will engage London based European and Arab media in candid
discussions on a wide variety of national security issues of interest
to senior Department of Defense (DoD) officials. No solicitation will
be issued. This notice is not a request for competitive quotations.
Performance period is for a 12-month base period and (4) 12-month
option periods. Award is imminent."
The award actually was made two months later, according to WHS
officials, who told me that the total contract was for some $79,000
and made out for Devon Cross herself.
Now, admittedly, this is not an enormous amount of taxpayer money at
stake, but I'm intrigued by a number of questions raised by this
transaction. These include:
1) Is there a conflict of interest between her membership in the
DPB and her receiving a contract from the office on whose behalf the
DPB volunteers its time?
2) Do other members of the DPB also receive "honoraria" for their
appearances arranged by Cross?
3) Are the members of the press invited to these events informed
of the Pentagon's financial sponsorship?
4) Is the Pentagon financing the appearances of "unofficial"
guests, such as Woolsey and Barone (whose views may not reflect those
of the administration at any given moment)?
5) Why is this being contracted out to a private group when the
Pentagon presumably can use its own public- and media-affairs
personnel to arrange dinners and coffees in London and Paris? (They
can certainly run a more up-to-date website!)
6) And, recalling the fact that Cross also serves as an adviser to
the Lincoln Group the Pentagon contractor that paid Iraqi newspapers
to print pro-U.S. propaganda is this little program part of a larger
information operation in the Rumsfeldian sense of the phrase? (Bear in
mind that Amir Taheri, one of Cross's closest collaborators and a
frequent invitee at these affairs, has a long history of disseminating
disinformation about the Iranian regime, the most recent being the
widely circulated story about Tehran requiring religious minorities,
including Jews, to wear different colored ribbons on their outer
garments (a la Third Reich) to distinguish them from Muslims.)
Finally, if, indeed, as it asserts, the website is supposed to promote
discussion of U.S. foreign policy to the general public in Europe, as
well as to opinion-shapers in the elite media, why is it so lacking in
transparency? There's not a word about the organization's directors or
officers or its financial sources or governance or just about anything
else of an institutional nature.
It's not that we don't know about other individuals involved in PF's
work, although we have to rely on other sources, like the Prague
Conference's Participants List, to identify them.
Thus, we learned from the list that an Allen Roth also represented the
Policy Forum at the Prague Conference. As we noted last June, Roth, a
New York-based attorney was also serving as president of Sharansky's
One Jerusalem at that time (although onejerusalem's website has since
been changed in a way that makes it very difficult, if not impossible,
to determine its current directors or staff. The same goes for the new
PF and CFF websites.) Roth's association with PF was confirmed by
another source: a Nexis search found a business profile by the
London-based ICC Information Group of the "Policy Forum on
International Security Issues". In a December 13 2007 entry, it named
Devon Gaffney Cross as the group's "Foundation Director" and Allen
Roth as its "Public Policy Analyst."
Another Prague attendee who was identified on the Participants List as
PF's "director" was Steven Schneier. As I pointed out last June,
Schneier was identified by a 1999 Jewish Week investigative article
entitled "Likud's Tangled Charity Web" as a key U.S. fund-raiser for
and top adviser to former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. His job
was apparently to funnel campaign contributions from Likud's
supporters in the U.S. among them, "Casino King" Irving Moskowitz, a
major backer of the most radical Jewish settler groups in East
Jerusalem and the West Bank and, not coincidentally perhaps, also a
big contributor to Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy (CSP)
and to the American Enterprise Institute (where he funded David
Wurmser's work in the late 1990s) through various Likud-controlled
charities. Schneier also helped handle the "charitable contributions"
of Manfred Lehmann, identified by the Week as "the late philanthropist
who defended Dr. Baruch Goldstein's murder of 29 Palestinians in
Hebron in 1994." So a quick glance at the Prague participants list
might have suggested to Sec. Edelman or his staff that some heavy-duty
settler/Likudniks were associated in some way with the organization to
which his office was about to give a no-bid renewable contract.
There is one other individual who has been publicly identified with
the Policy Forum, a rather mysterious German national named Zacharias
Gertler who, according to another ICC profile served as a "managing
director" of "The Policy Forum on International Security Issues" from
December 18, 2003 that is, soon after Cross set up shop in London
until he resigned on March 1, 2007. Gertler, who clearly shuns
publicity, appears to be the same "Zac Gertler" described by the May 1
2007 edition of London's Evening Standard as one of "London's Secret
Rich." With some 200 million pounds sterling in real estate, according
to the Standard, "Zacharias Gertler is a leading member of a
German-Jewish family with large property holdings. the Gertlers have
major property investments in the former East Germany. In London,
their portfolio includes chunks of King's Cross and the City as well
as a number of buildings in Baker Street. They also own hotels in
Israel. Gertler lives quietly in St. John's Wood. He has only three
publicly-listed UK directorships, one of which is the German-British
So back to the Prague Conference where, curiously, Cross herself was
not, as you would expect, identified as executive director of the
Policy Forum, but rather as a representative of "Case for Freedom," a
new organization that appears to have been launched at the conference.
Strangely, however, a search for "devon" on CFF's new site yields
nothing, although "The Policy Forum for International Affairs" along
with a number of other interesting sites appears on its "recommended
links" list. And, while the CFF site describes the organization as "a
dynamic community for dissidents and freedom's advocates across the
globe," there doesn't appear to be any information about who runs it.
Moreover, the community which is supposed to be mobilized by CFF
appears to be virtually non-existent. According to its "forums"
section, there are only five registered users. Like onejerusalem, the
CFF's home page is lively and seemingly up to date, but the actual
content beyond the home page, besides the "latest news" section, is
One of the strangest things about the site is the "Interview with Gary
Kasparov" which is featured in the center of the home page. The
interviewer is Jeffrey Gedmin, who introduces himself correctly as the
president of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), but then
adds that he is conducting the interview "for the caseforfreedom.org"
a rather bizarre introduction for the head of a U.S. government
agency unless, of course, the caseforfreedom is an RFE/RL project.
If you search the rferl website, however, nothing comes up either for
"Case for Freedom" or "caseforfreedom.org." The CFF home page also
features an audio interview with Kambiz Tavana, acting deputy director
of Radio Farda, the RFERL entity that broadcasts to Iran, which
appears to be a major preoccupation of the site, as it was at the
Prague Conference itself.
Gedmin, who headed AEI's New Atlantic Initiative and subsequently
headed the Aspen Institute in Berlin, was appointed to his current
position in early 2007. A dyed-in-the-wool neo-con, he was also a
charter signatory (along with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby,
etc.) of the Project for the New American Century in 1997 and of a
letter (co-signed by Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, Doug Feith, and
David Wurmser, among others) from "the Committee for Peace and
Security in the Gulf" that advocated overthrowing Saddam Hussein the
following year. He signed the September 20 2001 PNAC letter, which
called for Saddam to be ousted as part of the "war on terror," and the
subsequent April 2002 PNAC letter (along with all the hard-line
neo-cons, including the Likudniks at AEI, Gaffney, and John McCain's
foreign policy spokesman, Randy Scheunemann) that concluded, "Israel's
fight against terrorism is our fight."
I also have it on excellent authority that Gedmin has a longstanding
and close working relationship with Gaffney Cross. After all, not only
have they been running in the same hard-line neo-con circles for
years, but, with Cross in London and Gedmin in Berlin and now Prague
(RFE/RL's European headquarters), their mission to alter Europe's
negative attitudes toward Bush administration policies in the Middle
East has been very similar. One wonders whether RFE/RL, in addition to
Edelman's shop, is also providing support in some way to Cross'
efforts in her PF or CFF capacity a question that will have to go
begging for now because no press officer at RFE/RL is returning my calls.
Now, what was particularly intriguing about the interrelationships
between PF and CFF and One Jerusalem back in June was the fact that,
until May, Cross' PF email account, press@...
hosted by the "onejerusalem.org" mail server in Israel, as shown by
the screen capture we reproduced in the June 16 post. Shortly after
the screen capture was taken, however, Cross appears to have changed
her organization's email server to gmail.
What we've now found, however, is that onejerusalem.org,
policyforumuk.com, and caseforfreedom.org are not only all hosted by
the same Israel-based ISP, but they also share exactly the same IP
address, 22.214.171.124 (along with carolineglick.com, the personal
blog by the pro-settler editor of the Jerusalem Post by the same
name). Theoretically, this could be a total coincidence, but experts
I've spoken to insist that all of these sites are almost certainly
managed, hosted and owned by the same organization or individual
which, we believe, must be onejerusalem. (It was the first to register
the domain, back in 2000.) One Jerusalem was the the only one of the
three sites that listed an actual phone number on its registration,
and, when we called it, the receptionist answered, "Allen Roth's
office," presumably the same Allen Roth who last year was listed as
One Jerusalem's president nine months ago. This would add to the
impression that we first gained last June: that the CFF and Cross' PF
work very closely with and may well be fronts for One Jerusalem.
Now, let us recall what One Jerusalem stands for and who its founders
were, at least according to its website last June. It was founded
during the Camp David negotiations in late 2000 to rally public
opinion in Israel and in the United States, in particular, against any
peace deal indeed, any negotiation that could conceivably result
in ceding any part of Jerusalem, including Arab East Jerusalem, to the
Palestinians. It is thus opposed to the official policies, at least in
principle, of both the current Israeli and U.S. governments. Indeed,
in the run-up to last November's Annapolis summit hosted by Bush
himself, One Jerusalem ran a well-financed (thanks to Netanyahu buddy,
Ronald Lauder), public campaign designed to discredit and undermine it
in advance. One Jerusalem's founders included Sharansky, Netanyahu
adviser Dore Gold, Feith (who even opposed the original Camp David
Accords between Israel and Egypt), David Horowitz (of Islamofascism
Awareness Week); and David Steinmann, the former chairman of the
ultra-hawkish Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA),
among other hardline Likudists.
So, you may ask, why is the Pentagon policy office awarding a no-bid
contract to an organization whose institutional relationships and
affiliations appear so opposed to official U.S. policy and which is so
utterly lacking in transparency? And how is that such clearly
pro-Likud individuals as Cross and Gedmin (not to mention the new
Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, James Glassman who, like
Gedmin, is an AEI alumnus) are put in charge of U.S. public-diplomacy
efforts in Europe, let alone the Middle East? How does this happen?
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