How ‘Obscure’ Bureaucrats Cause Wars

Exclusive: Official Washington’s anti-Russian “group think” is now so dominant that no one with career aspirations dares challenge it, a victory for “obscure” government bureaucrats, like Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

By Jonathan Marshall

History isn’t just made by impersonal forces and “great men” or “great women.” Sometimes relatively obscure men and women acting in key bureaucratic posts make a real difference.

Thus, the international crisis in Syria traces back in part to the decision of President Barack Obama’s first ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, to reject peaceful rapprochement with the Damascus regime in favor of “radically redesign[ing] his mission” to promote anti-government protests that triggered the civil war in 2011.

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2014. (U.S. State Department photo)

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2014. (U.S. State Department photo)

In much the same way, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland did her best to foment the Feb. 22, 2014 putsch against the democratically elected Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych, “while convincing the ever-gullible U.S. mainstream media that the coup wasn’t really a coup but a victory for ‘democracy,’” as journalist Robert Parry wrote last July.

Nuland, a former adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and wife of neoconservative luminary Robert Kagan, helped achieve in Ukraine the kind of “regime change” that her husband had long promoted in the Middle East through the Project for a New American Century.

Nuland now has a new counterpart in the Department of Defense who bears close watching for signs of whether the Obama administration will keep escalating military confrontation with Russia over Eastern Europe, or look for opportunities to find common ground and ease tensions.

On Dec. 14, Dr. Michael Carpenter started work at the Pentagon as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, with added responsibilities for the Western Balkans and Conventional Arms Control. He replaced Evelyn Farkas, who stepped down in October.

Farkas was a firebrand who accused Russia of “shredding international law and conventions that have held firm for decades.” In a call to arms straight out of the early Cold War, she wrote recently, “Russia’s challenge is so fundamental to the international system, to democracy and free market capitalism that we cannot allow the Kremlin’s policy to succeed in Syria or elsewhere.”

In a remarkable display of “projection”, ascribing to others one’s own motives and actions, she declared that “Russia has invaded neighboring countries, occupied their territory, and funded NGOs and political parties not only in its periphery but also in NATO countries.” Its goal, she asserted, was nothing less than “breaking NATO, the European Union and transatlantic unity.”

Farkas declared that the United States must continue its military buildup to deter Russia; provide “lethal assistance” to countries on Russia’s periphery, including Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova; and step up economic sanctions “to pressure Russia . . . so that U.S. national security interests and objectives prevail.”

With people like that helping to shape official policy over the past three years, it’s no wonder U.S.-Russia relations have hit such a low point. Might her replacement, Michael Carpenter, take a less confrontational approach?

Carpenter moved to the Pentagon from the office of Vice President Joe Biden, where he was special adviser for Europe and Eurasia. Previously he ran the Russia desk at the National Security Council and spent several years in the Foreign Service.

Carpenter has kept a low public profile, with few publications or speeches to his name. One of his few quasi-public appearances was this April at a symposium on “Baltic Defense & Security After Ukraine: New Challenges, New Threats,” sponsored by The Jamestown Foundation.

His prepared remarks were off the record, but they were greeted warmly, “you’ve hit it right on the head”, by discussant Kurt Volker, former NATO ambassador under President George W. Bush and foreign policy adviser to Sen. John McCain. McCain has demanded that the United States arm Ukraine to fight Russia and he helped inflame the Ukraine crisis by meeting with the anti-Semitic leader of the country’s right-wing nationalist party for photo-ops in 2013.

During a short Q&A session at the symposium, captured on video, Carpenter declared that “Russia has completely shredded the NATO-Russian Founding Act,” a choice of words strikingly reminiscent of Farkas’s denunciation of Russia for “shredding international law.” He accused Russia of “pursuing a neo-imperial revanchist policy” in Eastern Europe, inflammatory words that Sen. McCain lifted for an op-ed column in the Washington Post a couple of months later. Carpenter also indicated that he would personally favor permanent NATO bases in the Baltic states if such an escalation would not fragment the alliance.

The fact that Carpenter chose to make one of his few appearances at the The Jamestown Foundation is itself highly telling. According to IPS Right Web, which tracks conservative think tanks, the foundation’s president, Glen Howard, “is the former executive director of the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, a largely neoconservative-led campaign aimed at undermining Russia by bolstering U.S. support for militant nationalist and Islamist movements in the North Caucasus.” Howard has also been a consultant to the Pentagon and to “major oil companies operating in Central Asia and the Middle East.”

The foundation was formed in 1984 by “a leading Cold Warrior close to the Reagan administration,” with the blessing of CIA Director William Casey, to provide extra funding for Soviet bloc defectors to supplement meager stipends offered by the CIA. Its board members today include former CIA Director Michael Hayden, and previous board members included Dick Cheney and former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, a prominent neoconservative activist.

All this matters hugely for several reasons. Increased confrontation with Russia, particularly along its highly sensitive Western border, will continue to poison relationships with Moscow that are crucial for achieving U.S. interests ranging from Afghanistan to Iran to Syria. Ratcheting up a new Cold War will divert tens or hundreds of billions of dollars into military spending at the expense of domestic priorities.

Most important, the action-reaction cycle between NATO and Russia in Eastern Europe is dramatically increasing chances for an unwanted, unneeded and disastrous war involving the world’s great nuclear powers. Ian Kearns, director of the European Leadership Network, noted in a recent commentary for the Arms Control Association:

“Despite protestations by both sides that the exercises are aimed at no particular adversary, it is clear that each side is exercising with the most likely war plans of the other in mind. The Russian military is preparing for a confrontation with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a confrontation with Russia. This does not mean either side has the political intent to start a war, but it does mean that both believe a war is no longer unthinkable. . . .

“Too few appear to recognize that the current cocktail of incidents, mistrust, changed military posture, and nuclear signaling is creating the conditions in which a single event or combination of events could result in a NATO-Russian war, even if neither side intends it.”

In such a way, the actions of relatively minor figures in history if their provocations are not reined in can lead the world to cataclysm.

Jonathan Marshall is an independent researcher living in San Anselmo, California. Some of his previous articles for Consortiumnews were “Risky Blowback from Russian Sanctions”; “Neocons Want Regime Change in Iran”; “Saudi Cash Wins France’s Favor”; “The Saudis’ Hurt Feelings”; “Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Bluster”; “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess”; and Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.” ]

36 comments for “How ‘Obscure’ Bureaucrats Cause Wars

  1. Dieter Heymann
    December 18, 2015 at 15:25

    After WW1 our former ally Russia, meanwhile the Soviet Union, was “rewarded” with a huge loss of territory. After WW2 the splitting-off continued. Is it any wonder that a former KGB agent, now the top politician of Russia, has drawn a line and declared “enough is enough”? Apparently Mr. Carpenter does not get why Mr. Putin “took” Crimea and why he is strongly supported even by Russians who do not like his domestic policies.
    The politicians who do get it are most of the West-European leaders. Carpenter will never get Ms. Merkel on board of his dangerous ideas. President Obama, who has not rebuked Ms. Nuland for her “f…ck Europe” statement, and his successor will have to go it alone.

  2. Chet Roman
    December 18, 2015 at 14:20

    I think it’s a bit misleading to call Nuland an “obscure” bureaucrat who caused a war. Let’s call it what it is, Nuland ( as is NED head Carl Gershman) is a member of the zionist fifth column that use the useful idiots like Cheney, GW Bush, Rumsfeld and others to pursue their agenda on behalf of a foreign power.

    The infiltration of these fifth column members into powerful positions of power in the government includes the Treasury. Recently, the Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levy was replaced by David Cohen, both have been closely associated with AIPAC. These are not obscure bureaucrats, they are an organized network that is a danger to U.S. sovereignty.

  3. Abe
    December 16, 2015 at 15:09

    Australian Police, Dutch Prosecutors Break with Dutch Safety Board at First Coroner’s Court Inquest on MH17 Crash
    By John Helmer (15 December 2015)

    The Australian Federal Police and Dutch police and prosecutors investigating the cause of the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH17 believe the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) has failed to provide “conclusive evidence” of what type of munition destroyed the aircraft, causing the deaths of 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.

    Testifying for the first time in an international court, Detective Superintendent Andrew Donoghoe, the senior Australian policeman in the international MH17 investigation, said a “tougher standard than the DSB report” is required before the criminal investigation can identify the weapon which brought the aircraft down, or pinpoint the perpetrators. Their criminal investigation will continue into 2016, Donoghoe told the Victorian Coroners Court on Tuesday morning. He and other international investigators are unconvinced by reports from the US and Ukrainian governments, and by the DSB, of a Buk missile firing. “Dutch prosecutors require conclusive evidence on other types of missile,” Donoghoe said, intimating that “initial information that the aircraft was shot down by a [Buk] surface to air missile” did not meet the Australian or international standard of evidence.

    The Coroners Court in Melbourne is the first in the world to hold an inquest into the MH17 crash on July 17, 2014, and the cause of death of those on board. […]

    Donoghoe was the lead witness. He continues to direct a team of 22 Australian police, forensic specialists and intelligent agents stationed in The Netherlands and Ukraine. He was followed by Dr David Ranson, a Victorian pathologist who led a team of 4; they worked at the Dutch military base at Hilversum in July and August of 2014, after the bodies of the MH17 victims were taken there for identification and forensic analysis. Donoghoe said a full report by the AFP had been included in the coroner’s evidence. Ranson has filed two reports with the coroner – one of August 25, 2014, and one on December 16, 2014. So far the Coroner has classified these documents as secret […]

    Ranson, who is an associate professor of forensic pathology and deputy director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, told the court he and his team had spent two and half weeks studying the victims’ bodies at Hilversum. There, he confirmed, X-rays and CT scans were carried out and more than 700 autopsies. He testified that when the Australian victims’ bodies were repatriated to the morgue at the Coroners Court, another CT scan was taken of each body, and matched against the scan taken at Hilversum. Ranson’s reports ruling out the presence of shrapnel from a missile strike in any of the MH17 bodies have been kept secret to date.

    On oath, Ranson told Coroner West the deaths of the passengers had been caused by the aircraft breaking up. He dismissed the possibility that an oxygen mask found on a body on the ground had been worn by the victim. There was no DNA evidence to support that, and little likelihood, Ranson said, that the high-speed airflow through the aircraft at decompression would have left oxygen masks on the victims, if they had time to put them on. Death came too fast, Ranson believes.

  4. December 16, 2015 at 04:15

    Victoria Nuland was not the only ‘obscure’ bureaucrat engaged in fomenting the Ukraine coup. There is little doubt in my mind she had the aid of two more ‘obscure’ career bureaucrats from the U.K. and France. And there is a growing mountain of evidence to prove it

    Though Catherine Ashton has never been elected at the ballot box to any post in her entire life, Tony Blair elevated her to the UK’s House of Lords in 1999 solely so she could serve in his cabinet. Ashton went on to become the unelected ‘foreign minister’ for Europe. An article in the Economist in 2010 questioned her qualifications for the high-profile position. Her complete lack of talent and charisma had corporate media hacks fumbling for something positive to say about the baroness. In typical compromise she was politely labelled ‘The Quiet Diplomat’.

    In the run-up to the Ukraine coup Ashton visited Kiev at the same time as Nuland. Though the two were on the same mission, and had worked together previously, they did not appear in public together on that occasion. It was more than a little odd bearing in mind September 2012 had seen the two women involved in discussions with Iran negotiator Saeed Jalili over the country’s supposed nuclear arms ambitions. Nevertheless, evidence suggests the two women may have taken pains to avoid being photographed – or seen – together in Kiev.

    Another ‘obscure’ bureaucrat involved in sweetening up Ukrainian opposition to its legitimate government was the boss of the IMF.

    Christine Lagarde made generous promises of billions to persuade Ukrainians to overthrow a government her old banking friends felt too closely allied to Russia, which had been extending generosity to its neighbour ever since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Nuland and Lagarde were pictured marching tightly together at both the Paris and Washington demonstrations in support of Charlie Hebdo following the Paris attacks. Yet at the time of Maidan Square the two acted as though they hardly knew each other.

    None of the three women have ever been elected to their powerful positions at the ballot box, yet all three were presented as representing the interests of the citizens of their nations (and the West) in negotiations which have brought us all the brink of world war, where we still remain.

    What is even more disturbing are Nuland’s links to some high-profile U.S. politicans who, in turn, can be shown to have close links to business interests in East Europe, including the sales of weapons. Some of those links are to high-ranking government officials who have been shown to be connected, either directly or indirectly, to organised crime and fascism.

    An article I wrote in April this year explores the three women’s apparently tenuous relationships to one another, and the ways they have been employed as proxies for highly questionable government activities our politicians would rather we didn’t know about.

    • Abe
      December 16, 2015 at 13:42

      Promoting gender equality and empowering women […] is a priority for the United States Government. Under the leadership of President Obama, the United States is working to combat discrimination […] and encourage women’s economic and political leadership.

      Women who have served “at the pleasure of The President of The United States of America”…

      Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
      Samantha Power, Ambassador to the United Nations
      Susan Rice, National Security Adviser
      Janet Yellen, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
      Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security
      Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs

      Not to mention…

      Christine Madeleine, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
      Catherine Ashton, former High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
      Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

      Thank Goddess for the empowered economic and political leadership of the Women of the New World Order — a glorious new era of global peace and prosperity is upon us.

      • Abe
        December 16, 2015 at 13:55

        And who can forget that great icon of “compassionate” leadership, Madeline Albright, who served “at the pleasure” of Bill Clinton as first woman Secretary of State of the United States

      • Abe
        December 16, 2015 at 15:30

        And who can forget that great icon of “integrity” in leadership, Condoleeza Rice, who served “at the pleasure” of George W. Bush as the first female African-American Secretary of State of the United States

  5. FORMER Obomber Supporter
    December 16, 2015 at 02:51

    Obama is either the biggest sap ever to occupy the White House, or the biggest crypto-neocon in government. Everybody he chooses for a position in his administration parrots the same nonsense about Russia being the aggressor in these confrontations. I mean Cheney’s top advisor Nuland and Kagan the chief mouthpiece for PNAC? Really? Later, Ash Carter and now Carpenter? None of this is by accident. Stupidity perhaps, but malicious design seems more likely. It seems obvious to me (and any objective person) that if someone camps on my doorstep armed to the teeth and constantly calls me out with threatening verbiage, he is the aggressor, not me the homeowner who brandishes a weapon in response to his belligerence.

  6. Abe
    December 15, 2015 at 21:47

    In June 2006, Armed Forces Journal published this map for “The New Middle East” from Ralph Peters, a prominent pro-war strategist.

    The map shows the method to the current madness — creating ethnic tension and civil war in order to redraw the boundaries and divide most of the Arabs from most of the oil.

    A new “Arab Shia State” would contain much of the oil, separating governments in Riyadh, Baghdad and Tehran from what is currently the main source of their national wealth.

    The plan for also involves the creation of a “Free Kurdistan”. The news state will be carved out of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey and would serve as an energy transit corridor.

    Some of the neo-cons have publicly proclaimed that their goal for the War on Iraq (and eventually, its neighbors) is to redraw the borders of the Middle East. The ostensible reason given for this arrogance is to separate feuding ethnic and religious groups from each other. However, if you combine maps of the “new Middle East” sought by these armchair warriors with maps of the oil fields, a more sinister motive becomes obvious. Dividing up Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia would allow the consolidation of most of the region’s oil into a new country (which presumably would be allied to the United States). This would remove control over the oil from governments based in Baghdad, Tehran and Riyadh, allowing new arrangements of control to be established.

    The supposed “failure” of the Bush Cheney invasion of Iraq allows for a new administration to supposedly fix the problems of their civil war by splitting Iraq into three new states – a Kurdish enclave in the north, a Shiite Arab state in the south, and a Sunni region in the center. Most of Iraq’s oil would be concentrated in the Shiite region, with lesser amounts in the Kurdish part, and very little would remain for the Sunnis. This would allow the US to focus its occupation and manipulation on the parts of Iraq that have oil, and the parts without oil could be ignored.

    Saudi Arabia has a similar confluence of ethnicity with petroleum geography. Saudi oil fields are in the east, along the Persian Gulf. The two holy cities of Mecca and Medina are in the west, along the Red Sea. Some neo-conservatives have floated the idea of partioning Saudi Arabia into at least two countries – one with the holy cities but without oil, the other without holy cities but with oil fields. The US merely wants to control the oil and is not interested in occupying Mecca and Medina.

    Iran’s oil is mostly in the western provinces along the Persian / Arabian Gulf. One particularly oil rich region is Khuzestan, an Arab area of Iran. Most “Westerners” probably think that Iran is an Arab country, but while it is Islamic, it is not Arab. Most Iranians speak Farsi, not Arabic. Iranians are Persians, not Arabs. Iran is a multi-ethnic country, but it is a strange circumstance that the area with the most Arabs is also one of the areas with lots of oil. In 1980, when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein attacked Iran (with the covert help of the US), he was hoping to seize Khuzestan’s oil fields to add them to his own oily empire (Khuzestan is on the border of southern Iraq).

    The neo-con proposal for a new “Arab Shia State” along the northern Persian / Arabian Gulf would separate the bulk of the oil from Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

    Senator Joe Biden, chair of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, ran for President in 2007 largely on the platform of promoting Iraqi partition as a “solution” to the Iraqi disaster that Bush’s invasion created. While Biden’s presidential ambitions went nowhere, it was his audition to be Vice President in the Obama administration.

    • Abe
      December 16, 2015 at 14:28

      The overhaul, dismantlement, and reassembly of the nation-states of the Middle East have been packaged as a solution to the hostilities in the Middle East, but this is categorically misleading, false, and fictitious. The advocates of a “New Middle East” and redrawn boundaries in the region avoid and fail to candidly depict the roots of the problems and conflicts in the contemporary Middle East. What the media does not acknowledge is the fact that almost all major conflicts afflicting the Middle East are the consequence of overlapping Anglo-American-Israeli agendas.

      Many of the problems affecting the contemporary Middle East are the result of the deliberate aggravation of pre-existing regional tensions. Sectarian division, ethnic tension and internal violence have been traditionally exploited by the United States and Britain in various parts of the globe including Africa, Latin America, the Balkans, and the Middle East. Iraq is just one of many examples of the Anglo-American strategy of “divide and conquer.” Other examples are Rwanda, Yugoslavia, the Caucasus, and Afghanistan.

      Amongst the problems in the contemporary Middle East is the lack of genuine democracy which U.S. and British foreign policy has actually been deliberately obstructing. Western-style “Democracy” has been a requirement only for those Middle Eastern states which do not conform to Washington’s political demands. Invariably, it constitutes a pretext for confrontation. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan are examples of undemocratic states that the United States has no problems with because they are firmly alligned within the Anglo-American orbit or sphere.

      Additionally, the United States has deliberately blocked or displaced genuine democratic movements in the Middle East from Iran in 1953 (where a U.S./U.K. sponsored coup was staged against the democratic government of Prime Minister Mossadegh) to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, the Arab Sheikdoms, and Jordan where the Anglo-American alliance supports military control, absolutists, and dictators in one form or another. The latest example of this is Palestine.

      The Turkish Protest at NATO’s Military College in Rome

      Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters’ map of the “New Middle East” has sparked angry reactions in Turkey. According to Turkish press releases on September 15, 2006 the map of the “New Middle East” was displayed in NATO’s Military College in Rome, Italy. It was additionally reported that Turkish officers were immediately outraged by the presentation of a portioned and segmented Turkey. The map received some form of approval from the U.S. National War Academy before it was unveiled in front of NATO officers in Rome.

      The Turkish Chief of Staff, General Buyukanit, contacted the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, and protested the event and the exhibition of the redrawn map of the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Furthermore the Pentagon has gone out of its way to assure Turkey that the map does not reflect official U.S. policy and objectives in the region, but this seems to be conflicting with Anglo-American actions in the Middle East

      Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”
      By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

  7. Robert Molineaux Sr
    December 15, 2015 at 20:20

    The Jamestown Foundation and similar organizations are pursuing activities that are criminal on two counts: violation of international law and treaty by interfering in the domestic affairs of other sovereign nations, and violation of US law which reserves the conduct of US foreign policy to elected and appointed officials.

  8. Abe
    December 15, 2015 at 17:15

    Carpenter’s comments on “America’s Commitment to Baltic Defense” were kept off the record at the Jamestown Foundation conference on “Baltic Defense & Security After Ukraine: New Challenges, New Threats.”

    The Jamestown Foundation biography for Carpenter notes that in addition to serving as Director for Russia at the National Security Council, he served as advisor on the South Caucasus with the Department of State.

    Carpenter is a figure in the U.S.-NATO effort to develop a Baltic-Black Sea alliance: a north-south grouping of countries from Baltic states in the north to Ukraine, Moldova and even Georgia in the south.

    The past efforts of the Jamestown Foundation reflect America’s enduring commitment to challenge and threaten Russia.

    In 2007 Russian government accused the research institute of spreading anti-Russian propaganda by hosting a debate on violence in the Russia’s turbulent region of Ingushetia. According to a statement by the Foreign Ministry of Russia: “Organisers again and again resorted to deliberately spreading slander about the situation in Chechnya and other republics of the Russian North Caucasus using the services of supporters of terrorists and pseudo-experts. Speakers were given carte blanche to spread extremist propaganda, incite ethnic and inter-religious discord.” The Jamestown Foundation responded by saying that Russia felt threatened by it and was trying to intimidate it. Foundation president Glen Howard claimed that “they’re intimidated by the power of the free word and this goes against the state manipulation of the media in Russia.”

    Right Web, a website that tracks right-wing mg militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy, details the Jamestown Foundation’s involvement in machinations in the Caucasus region:

    Jamestown’s work in the Caucasus region became the subject of scrutiny in April 2013 when Russian news sources reported that key Boston marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev—an ethnic Chechen who was raised in the United States but reportedly visited with Islamic militants in the restive Russian state of Dagestan—had attended Jamestown-funded workshops in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi in 2011. The workshops were hosted by an organization called the Caucasian Fund (sometimes rendered as Fund for the Caucasus or the Kavkazsky Fund), which has an office in Boston and has been linked to the Georgian government.

    Documents released by the Georgian Interior Ministry in 2013 suggest that at the time of Tsarnaev’s alleged visit, the Georgian government was actively training and ferrying militants into neighboring Dagestan as part of its rivalry with Russia, with whom it fought a brief war in 2008. Some observers have speculated that the Jamestown-sponsored workshops may have been part of this effort. Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has denied the claims.

    Jamestown has also denied any connection to the alleged program, but it has involved itself with controversial anti-Russian initiatives in the past. Jamestown president Glen Howard is the former executive director of the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, a largely neoconservative-led campaign aimed at undermining Russia by bolstering U.S. support for militant nationalist and Islamist movements in the North Caucasus.In a 2005 statement, Howard echoed the claims of leading neoconservatives like William Kristol in denying that the Chechen separatist movement was fundamentally Islamist, telling the Washington Post: “The Russians are trying to treat Chechen separatism through the prism of 9/11 and terror rather than as a nationalist movement that has been defying Kremlin rule for 200 years.” The committee is now known as the American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus and operates under the aegis of Freedom House. Jamestown has published some of the group’s works in the past.

    Organizations like the Jamestown Foundation and the Atlantic Council, and ‘obscure’ apparatchiks like Carpenter, Farkas and Nuland don’t cause wars. They are very specifically appointed in order to implement the wars “by other means”.

    • Abe
      December 15, 2015 at 20:48

      Speaking of ‘obscure’ apparatchiks:

      “Jamestown is one of the rare organizations tracking terrorism that analyzes the full scope of terrorist movements objectively and without ideological bias. Unlike so many other analyses that view the terrorist phenomenon from a narrow and shallow police perspective, Jamestown’s work sets terrorist activities in the broader political, cultural, sociological, and geopolitical context in which they operate” —Graham E. Fuller

      Former Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council at CIA; Adjunct Professor of History at Simon Fraser University, author of The Future of Political Islam (2003) and for some strange reason, frequent contributor of articles on “the Muslim World” here on Consortium News.

      Fuller has long made the argument that Islam is a potentially useful geopolitical tool for the United States to manipulate for their own ends. He has been quoted as saying, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against [the Russians]. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.”

      Fuller’s ties also extend to the network of Imam Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher who was run out of Turkey for allegations of conspiracy to overthrow the secular government, Gulen ended up in Pennsylvania where he now oversees a vast organization known as the Gulen Movement which has over $20 billion at its disposal for setting up Islamic schools in over 100 countries.

      Being a wanted man by the Turkish government, Gulen did not just waltz into the US and gain immediate residency. Instead, he fought a protracted legal battle that included reference letters from well-connected political figures, including none other than Graham Fuller.

      After the Boston Marathon bombings, it was revealed that Fuller’s daughter Samantha Ankara Fuller (married Tsarnaev) was married in the 1990s to Ruslan Tsarni (born Tsarnaev), the terrorists’ uncle. They divorced on 26 April 1999, in Orange County, North Carolina. Ruslan Tsarni worked for companies connected to Halliburton. He was also a consultant for a company contracted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in the former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

      Since the details of Fuller’s connection to the Boston bombing suspects’ uncle emerged, Fuller has admitted the connection but dismissed the suggestion that there is any link between the CIA and the Boston bombing case as “absurd.”

      In 2013, it was revealed that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had attended a workshop sponsored by the CIA-linked Jamestown Foundation, the very organization that ex-CIA analyst Fuller has highly praised.

      Who Is Graham Fuller?

      • F. G. Sanford
        December 15, 2015 at 22:23

        Thanks for pointing this out. Those who assume that ‘loose cannons’ are responsible for the ‘blunders’ inexorably leading to world conflagration fail to acknowledge what it says on every commissioned government officer’s mandate: to serve “at the pleasure of The President of The United States of America”. Acceptance of that mandate is accompanied by an Oath of Office by which the appointee swears to “support, protect and defend The Constitution of The United States of America”. So, if these individuals are acting in this manner, they are either doing so at The President’s pleasure, or at the pleasure of whosoever actually makes the decisions. Those persons have discovered that the more outrageous the treasonous act, the less likely the American people to suspect treason, or to believe the narrative when the plot is exposed. The Kennedy assassination codified that reality, and its success has caused its perpetrators to act accordingly ever since. Graham Fuller is only as unrelated to this plot as were Earl Cabbel, Ruth Payne, and George de Mohrenschildt to that sentinel event. Virtually all of the players were related by blood, marriage, financial, business or intelligence community ties. Bruce Campbell Adamson, genealogist and historian, documents these connections, and states, “This author believes that it was certainly unethical and bordering upon fraud when President George Bush signed into law The JFK Assassination Records Review Board Act and did not disclose that he knew George de Mohrenschildt since 1942. In order to understand the conflict of interest George Bush played in the JFK assassination investigation in 1963 and in 1976, one needs to look at his entire career with the CIA and Zapata Oil industry.” The entire cabal was a tightly knit group of insiders representing corporate wealth and financial power. These insiders “exist and will persist” as long as the American people remain incorrigibly gullible. Choosing Graham Fuller as a subject matter expert on geopolitics is tantamount to hiring a fox to guard the hen-house.

        • Abe
          December 16, 2015 at 00:50

          Can the epithet “incorrigibly gullible” be applied to Consortium News, F. G.?

          • F. G. Sanford
            December 16, 2015 at 01:01

            You know…I’ve been mulling that over for a long time now. Graham Fuller’s appearances here seem a nano-journalistic model tantamount to placing Allen Dulles on the Warren Commission.

        • Abe
          December 16, 2015 at 00:57

          Since the end of World War Two the Central Intelligence Agency has been a major force in US and foreign news media, exerting considerable influence over what the public sees, hears and reads on a regular basis. CIA publicists and journalists alike will assert they have few, if any, relationships, yet the seldom acknowledged history of their intimate collaboration indicates a far different story–indeed, one that media historians are reluctant to examine.

          Kennedy_CIAWhen seriously practiced, the journalistic profession involves gathering information concerning individuals, locales, events, and issues. In theory such information informs people about their world, thereby strengthening “democracy.” This is exactly the reason why news organizations and individual journalists are tapped as assets by intelligence agencies and, as the experiences of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte (entry 47 below) suggest, this practice is at least as widespread today as it was at the height of the Cold War.

          Consider the coverups of election fraud in 2000 and 2004, the events of September 11, 2001, the invasions Afghanistan and Iraq, the destabilization of Syria, and the creation of “ISIS.” These are among the most significant events in recent world history, and yet they are also those much of the American public is wholly ignorant of. In an era where information and communication technologies are ubiquitous, prompting many to harbor the illusion of being well-informed, one must ask why this condition persists.

          Further, why do prominent US journalists routinely fail to question other deep events that shape America’s tragic history over the past half century, such as the political assassinations of the 1960s, or the central role played by the CIA major role in international drug trafficking?

          Popular and academic commentators have suggested various reasons for the almost universal failure of mainstream journalism in these areas, including newsroom sociology, advertising pressure, monopoly ownership, news organizations’ heavy reliance on “official” sources, and journalists’ simple quest for career advancement. There is also, no doubt, the influence of professional public relations maneuvers. Yet such a broad conspiracy of silence suggests another province of deception examined far too infrequently—specifically the CIA and similar intelligence agencies’ continued involvement in the news media to mold thought and opinion in ways scarcely imagined by the lay public.

          The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know
          By Prof. James F. Tracy

        • Peter Loeb
          December 16, 2015 at 06:34


          Washington is not “escalating”. It is not “fighting ISIS.

          It is organizing aggression which according to the
          Nuremberg Charter of 1945 “is the supreme
          international crime”. The government whose
          consent is required does not need to be an
          elected government or one that respects human
          rights but simply has to be whoever effectively
          controls the armed forces because that factor
          determines whether crossing the border leads
          to war. ( See Jean Bricmont: HUMANITARIAN
          IMPERIALISM, p. 94)

          Washington (both the White House and Congress)
          are not planning to give aid and support to either
          of the nations who are the primary victims of
          aggression, Syria and Iraq. Washington is not
          planning to send technology to assist them in
          their long battle for their sovereignty, territorial
          integrity and independence all of which have been
          affirmed by the UN Security Council along with
          US ratification Washington will not aid Syria, Iraq,
          Russia and others in their battle against all affililiates
          of terrorist organizations and foreign invaders.
          See UNSC resolutions)

          Instead Washington intends to increase its support
          of these invaders.

          This is one of the many options in the interventionists’

          As in other cases, THE DECISION has been made.
          The President can go on vacation. It is only
          the implementation which now involves smaller
          bureaucrats who as one commenter (F.G. Sanford)

          “Those who assume that ‘loose cannons’ are responsible
          for the ‘blunders’ inexorably leading to world conflagration
          fail to acknowledge what it says on every commissioned
          government officer’s mandate: to serve “at the pleasure of
          The President of The United States of America”. Acceptance
          of that mandate is accompanied by an Oath of Office by which
          the appointee swears to “support, protect and defend
          The Constitution of The United States of America”.
          So, if these individuals are acting in this manner, they are
          either doing so at The President’s pleasure, or at the
          pleasure of whosoever actually makes the decisions.”
          —F.G. Sanford in comment above

          While it may seem worthwhile to examine the blame
          of the “bureaucrats”,doing so as does Jonathan Marshall
          in his article is a distraction. It may be true but is no
          more helpful than bringing up a family’s experiences
          in previous marriages. They are indeed now working at
          the pleasure of the President and in response to
          the current political and public climate (much of which
          is fabricated).

          —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • dahoit
        December 16, 2015 at 14:00

        Yes,we let these clowns in to tweak the bear,and they turn on US.And not one iota of introspection by the MSM on the criminality of our govt.
        And,like Paris and SB,the marathon bombings upped the terror ante.
        Made to order!

  9. Erik
    December 15, 2015 at 17:07

    The individual operative is often in a position to force the commitment of he US to policy it disfavors (publicly), by arranging an assassination, faking a provocation, sending false intelligence, etc. There are many examples of state dept or other bureaucrats being blamed for foreign policy events not inconsistent with administration ends.
    1. The US bureaucrats who allegedly ignored warnings from China to keep the US Army away from its border with N Korea when the US invaded, calling intermediary ambassador Panikar of India a “panicker,” with the resulting push of the army back to S Korea by China, and subsequent US genocide of 2 million N Korean civilians by fire bombing.
    2. The US bureaucrats who allegedly set up the Shah to overthrow democracy in Iran in 1953, with the resulting tyranny over Iran and its revolution in 1976, and all of the disastrous US-instigated events there since.
    3. The US bureaucrats who set up the Vietnam War by faking the Gulf of Tonkin “attack” on (undamaged) US Navy vessels in N Vietnam waters, having set up carrier task forces there and planned the subsequent bombing campaigns, with the resulting 1+ million civilian casualties there and 2 million in the Cambodia saturation bombings, which also led to the war there.
    4. The US bureaucrats who arranged with General Minh to assassinate S Vietnam president Diem and his brother for negotiating for peace with N Vietnam, which allegedly shocked Kennedy, a supporter of the Catholic (minority) Diem.
    5. The US bureaucrats who sponsored Pol Pot, after Vietnam invaded and stopped the “Killing Fields” genocide, so that he could attack N Vietnam forces restoring order there.
    6. The US Reagan bureaucrats who sponsored and armed Al Qaeda & co. in AfPak in the 1980s to attack the USSR forces there stabilizing its first secular government.
    7. The Israeli PNAC operatives Feith, Wurmser, and Perl installed by SecDef Wolfowitz to “stovepipe” fake and discredited reports of Iraq WMD to allow Bush to trick the public into Iraq War II.
    Of course the list goes on, many of them military, state dept, or secret agency operatives. How many have acted independently of actual or perceived administration desires is unclear.

  10. Abe
    December 15, 2015 at 16:05

    And that includes Sanders.

    Let’s hope Ukraine and Syria won’t get a chance to “Feel the Bern” the way Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the people of Gaza have.

    Bernie Sanders’ Troubling History of Supporting US Military Violence Abroad
    By Michael Arria

  11. Pablo Diablo
    December 15, 2015 at 15:24

    Gotta keep the war machine well fed so they can continue to buy politicians who promote war. That includes Hillary. Wake up America.

  12. Abe
    December 15, 2015 at 14:22

    Exactly what manner of brainwashing has made the world forget that fabulously wealth and powerful families like the Rockefellers and Rothschilds, simply forgot how to play “hardball” with the world? We look on politicians like Barack Obama, David Cameron or Tony Blair as somehow controlling events. In reality, deep down we all know who pulls the strings. Genel Energy, Genie Energy in Israel, and other endeavors concerning ALL energy resources impact significantly everything that happens on our planet. Remember I mentioned the Iraq invasion being “all about oil?” Well it was, and I can make a case for these energy Titans having played a significant role. This Judicial Watch page contains links to declassified documents showing the United States Government’s interest in Iraqi and Middle East oil just prior to the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, and prior to 9/11. There’s two sections that bear special scrutiny. They are entitled Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts – Part 1 & 2, dated March of 2001, 6 months before the Twin Towers came down. These were obtained by a court order according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and concern what was known as the “Cheney Energy Task Force.” We haven’t the space for 9/11 theories here, but what these documents do who is an intense interest in this region tightly targeting oil and gas. The reader will find the “suitors” listed to benefit from Iraq’s wealth interesting compared to who actually benefits now.

    This is a very deep and complex study to engage in, the energy transit and profits discussion […]

    these people fear Putin like a big Russian bear in the living room. I think the evidence clearly shows Jacob, and son Nathaniel Rothschild, have been working at last ten years toward a free Kurdistan (Google Genel PDF “Powering the Future of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq). It’s also fair to say, the implications in this are staggering. This venture will soon lay claim to not only a vast oil bonanza, but to upwards of 11 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, not to mention the geo-strategic and transportation advantages. Let me show you a quote from Tony Hayward on profits this year form war torn Northern Iraq, then you decide if the Rothschild’s and are in any way funding terror.

    “The commencement of oil exports through the KRI-Turkey pipeline by the KRG was a landmark for the KRI oil industry. The ability to market oil through Ceyhan and receive international prices confirmed the status of the region as an important oil province, and revenues help to ensure a strong and prosperous Kurdistan Region of Iraq.” – Tony Hayward

    Over two million little children are completely homeless. Thousands are dead, war threatens the whole world, and Tony Hayward and his company are having a oil rush of monstrous proportions. Nathaniel Rothschild and others have bet mightily on this play.

    The Syria Liability: Western Investment Cataclysm
    By Phil Butler

  13. Bob Van Noy
    December 15, 2015 at 14:20

    Thank you so much Jonathan Marshall for the research, links and insight. I really helps to explain our dis functional propaganda system which is fully capable of driving a good reader to distraction. I first recognized this agenda by listening to VP Cheney”s rantings about Russia and Georgia, realizing Mikheil Saakashvili’s corruption, and suspecting a tie to US covert policy.
    One sees the similar strategy in Ukraine and sure enough who should show up there to “help out” but Mr. Saakashvili’. I suspect now that all of this is related to Zbigniew Brezinski’s “Grand Chessboard”. It is such a weak “script” for America to be following’ and maddening to watch.

  14. Abe
    December 15, 2015 at 14:16

    the stark reality of this conflict, a new Cold War that extended from Beijing and Moscow, throughout the Middle East, and into Europe, North America, and the rest of the world! What began in the East of Ukraine, has now spread over nearly the entire planet. Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has blamed each facet on Vladimir Putin, whom I needn’t remind you, NOT on the board of directors of Rothschild Inc. The fact is, Russia is one of the only countries in the world not saddled with unmanageable external debt.

    I know this discourse must be mind bending for most readers. One reason the public has no control over world events these days is the complexity and even the boredom of studying “bean counter” wiles. Wall Street, hedge funds, government bonds, margins, the machinations of “suits” not many of us would even care to play golf with, they are a plague really. Who has time to read into the history of the Rothschild banking family? What if I include the interests of the Rockefeller family in Ukraine today? What if I showed you linkages in between David Rockefeller and Hillary Clinton? It should be enough to raise your suspicions, the fact Ukraine’s president hired the investment firm Rothschild Inc. to sell off his assets, while at the same time Rothschild is neck deep investing in his country, AND leveraging investors, so to help free up more money to toss onto the Ukraine civil war pyre.

    Win or Lose In Ukraine: Some Rich Bastard Wins
    By Phil Butler

    • dahoit
      December 16, 2015 at 13:54

      Both warmongers the Wapo and NYTs had anti Russian diatribes today.They are setting US up for another disaster for Zion.

  15. Rob
    December 15, 2015 at 14:03

    It should hardly need to be pointed out that all of these “obscure bureaucrats” have bosses, namely the Secretaries of their respective departments and the President of the United States. I find it hard to believe that the underlings are setting policy on major issues over which their superiors have no control. Either the bosses are ineffectual puppets, or the bureaucrats are doing as they are told. I’m betting on the latter.

  16. rosemerry
    December 15, 2015 at 13:52

    Is there a genuine reason (apart from producing more profit for arms manufacturers) why the use of diplomats and negotiations are completely absent from any of the policies and actions of recent US administrations? In the past, some effort was made to have experts in the State Department who really gave advice and even had some knowledge (eg Arabic speakers in sensitive places) but now this is avoided, and ideology is all, with no attempt to understand the position of those automatically designated “enemies”.

    • Obvious questions not even asked
      December 16, 2015 at 03:15

      Do they ever even describe or defend their ideology any more? Do they ever spell out why Iraq, Iran, Libya, Russia, China and other countries are the acclaimed “enemies” of the United States? Can they tell us why destabilizing these countries, overthrowing their leaders and smashing their infrastructure is a benefit to a) the natives, b) the world or c) the United States? Can they point out any damage these countries have done to the United States or to other countries (our putative “allies”)? Granted Saddam, Gaddaffi and Assad were autocratic, and Saddam actually killed many rebels in his country with weapons (including poison gas) supplied by the United States. Are any of those countries better off now that they have been ravaged and their leaders killed (or targeted) by the United States? Or have our actions only made things much much worse with the likes of ISIS arising, plus major Turkish and Saudi aggression against those hapless countries? If a rebellion sprang up in the United States would the government of this country not put it down violently with much bloodshed? Or would the government peacefully cede power to the rebels as we ask Assad to do? I think our own Civil War answers that question.

    • WG
      December 16, 2015 at 04:31

      The state department is now widely staffed by political appointees given the positions as reward for their massive financial donations.

  17. Uncle Sam's comeuppance
    December 15, 2015 at 13:22

    As to how we arrived at the current state of choosing to wage wars for the sake of obscene profits that only benefit a few: does anybody know if in Eisenhower’s final address, whether or not his reference to the MIC included corporations and industries like oil, agriculture, and public utilities? And because these corporations are politically pro-war and profit along with Wall Street and the IMF, among others, while certainly knowing these wars are immoral as well as illegal, should’nt we consider them part of the MIC and not jutst mere beneficiaries?

  18. Drew Hunkins
    December 15, 2015 at 12:49

    The real dangerous types are the folks who parade around as the coolest, smartest heads in the room but in reality are staunch Zionists and Washington imperial warmongers. Brookings falls into this category as well as Hillary and S. Powers and of course others.

    I’ll never forget during the run up to the Iraq War (late 2002/early 2003) one of Brookings’ smartest guys in the room appeared on the television program ‘Oprah’ (say what you will about pop culture, but her show carries a lot of weight with American women) and argued that attacking Iraq was the sane and moral thing to do. It was remarkable. This smooth talking, otherwise liberal leaning wonk, was advocating a vicious war on a Middle Eastern state that never attacked the United States!

    It was also the Clinton admin that went about destroying Yugoslavia which was an incredibly dangerous move given its geographic proximity to Russia.

    Yes, the rightees are lunatics, but as the rightees sit in the corner of the yard and bray at the moon it’s not difficult to dismiss them. It’s the centrist Dems (and the “intelligent” and articulate staffers who populate their offices and cabinets) who are the more insidious threat.

    A Hillary presidency is potentially terrifying.

  19. David Smith
    December 15, 2015 at 12:44

    People such as Nuland, Carpenter, and Farkas do not form policy, they take orders. The orders come from the Propertied Class of The United States, who won’t bother showing up to Bohemian Grove, where their lackeys are paraded, they’ve got better things to do. They don’t bother giving orders to their lackeys such as Kissinger or Obama, they have high class errand boys for that.

    • Harry Shade
      December 15, 2015 at 16:47

      Where do the Zionisr neocon come in?

      • David Smith
        December 16, 2015 at 14:41

        Neocons? Paid propaganda lackeys. Zionists? Inserted into Greater Syria in 1918 to produce chaos you see today. Zionists are chumps scheduled for total destruction.

    • Herman
      December 15, 2015 at 17:36

      “The fact that Carpenter chose to make one of his few appearances at the The Jamestown Foundation is itself highly telling. According to IPS Right Web, which tracks conservative think tanks, the foundation’s president, Glen Howard, ‘“is the former executive director of the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, a largely neoconservative-led campaign aimed at undermining Russia by bolstering U.S. support for militant nationalist and Islamist movements in the North Caucasus.”’

      It is easy to sometimes overlook the ongoing mischief by the CIA in supporting Muslim extremists within or bordering Russia like the Chechens. Now Chechen volunteers are fighting with or beside ISIS forces. And you have to wonder, even suspect, that this activity continued after the USSR dissolved, that we have some out of control renegade force urging on and supporting the Islamic extremists, still fighting their Cold War.

      We have a schizophrenic foreign policy where there is the war against ISIS while supporting the same radical movement to weaken Russia. To seriously confront Muslim extremists and to cripple the movement, common sense tells us that we must work with Russia, Iran and Syria to do so.

      But that is where reason loses out. On the one hand we want to do damage to the Russians, the Syrians and the Iranians. On the other, the three countries with the most at stake in defeating the radical Islamists are the countries we have declared are our enemies.

      Until world opinion turned so strongly against ISIS, the US saw it as a tool to destroying Syria and weakening Russia and Iran. The reasoning, we can deal with ISIS later. That is no longer possible now and it becomes the really dangerous because of the McCain’s who want to confront ISIS, Iran, Russia and Syria.

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