Update on Gaffney Cross’ Policy Forum

A brief update on Devon Gaffney Cross’ Policy Forum on International Security (www.policyforumuk.com) whose cozy, off-the-record briefings by senior Pentagon officials, fellow-neo-cons and fellow members of the Defense Policy Board (DPB) for select British and European reporters in exclusive clubs and cafes in London and Paris, we discovered earlier this year, were the beneficiary of a no-bid contract by Defense Undersecretary Eric Edelman’s Policy office last September. We just learned that the Policy Forum was also the beneficiary of the Smith Richardson Foundation, for which Cross has in the past served as director of research and a program office, according to the Foundation’s 2006 annual report which was published late last year. Cross’ group, the report said, was to have received a grant for $25,000 during 2006 to “organize a series of events that bring current and former U.S. policy makers and strategic thinkers together with leading European journalists and opinion makers to discuss key foreign and security policy issues.”

Smith Richardson, whose considerable endowment is based on the Vick’s VapoRub fortune, has been a big funder of neo-con organizations and individuals since the 1970’s, as well as more-mainstream organizations and universities.

Despite the Pentagon’s and Smith Richardson’s largess, the Policy Forum’s website remains as dormant as ever. For more on the Forum’s and Cross’ activities, just type in her name on this site. I’ve posted about half a dozen times on them over the past year or so. Cross, of course, is the sister of Frank Gaffney, the ultra-hawkish president of the Center for Security Policy (CSP) who last week wrote a remarkable column in the Washington Times in which he associated Sen. Obama’s use of the phrase “citizen of the world” in Berlin with the Terror in Revolutionary France, “Citizen Kane,” the Organization of Islamic States (”a Muslim mafia organization”), “Communist China,” Russia, the non-aligned movement, the specter of gun control, and Rodney King. As you will see from the other posts, the Policy Forum appears to be closely associated with the people at Anatol Sharansky’s OneJerusalem.

Klein-Neocon Conflict Gathers Steam

If you don’t already know about it, the ongoing battle between Time magazine’s Joe Klein and the hard-line neo-conservatives at Commentary’s Contentions blog, as well as the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Abe Foxman (whose recent silence on the issue suggests he thinks this can’t turn out well for his side), over the question of divided or dual loyalties and what is in the respective interests of the U.S. and Israel appears to be heating up. One hopes that it will soon move from the blogosphere (including Time’s “Swampland”) to the mainstream U.S. media. Perhaps Klein himself will get the go-ahead from his editors to devote one of his magazine columns to it so it actually gets in print.

Daniel Luban and I wrote about the controversy today for IPS in which we tried to put it in the context of a series of events that have made it possible for a mainstream, centrist journalist — Jewish and proudly “pro-Israel” no less — like Klein to go after the neo-cons for their war-mongering, their “very, very dangerous form of extremism” and, a propos my last post, their “really dangerous anachronistic neocolonial sensibility,” as Klein described it in a very compelling interview with Jeffrey Goldberg on the Atlantic Monthly’s blog Tuesday. (I praised Goldberg’s own extraordinary attack on AIPAC and other right-wing Jewish groups in the New York Times two months ago as a major advance in the ongoing battle over the media’s reflexive use of the “pro-Israel” moniker to describe such groups.) Klein followed up the interview with a very concise restatement of his position and his determination to continue denouncing the neo-cons in a post, entitled “When Extremists Attack,” on the Swampland blog.

Led by John Podhoretz and Christian Right activist and Bill Kristol protege Peter Wehner, now with the misnamed Ethics and Public Policy Center (where Elliott Abrams spent most of his time after his pardon by President George H.W. Bush), and provoked by Goldberg’s interview, the neo-cons have returned to the attack, once again accusing Klein of anti-Semitism (which was Foxman’s concern) and adding charges of both intellectual and emotional instability for good measure.

But, as he argued in his interview with Goldberg, Klein argued that he is not anti-Semitic; he’s anti-neo-conservative — a very useful distinction that underlines the difference between religion or ethnicity, on the one hand, and political ideology on the other. Now, if all Jews were neo-conservatives, then Klein’s critics, including Foxman, might have a point, but, as Klein notes, Jewish neo-conservatives, to their great frustration, have always been and remain a rather small minority within the larger U.S. Jewish community.

In any event, both Klein’s interview and latest post are well worth reading, and the controversy he has provoked will hopefully soon move into the mainstream press. Oh, and don’t miss M.J. Rosenberg’s review of the latest developments at talkingpointsmemo.com.

Visit Lobelog.com for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service’s Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

House Judiciary Panel Hearings on ‘Imperial Presidency’

Spurred by Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s calls for impeachment, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings today on the “Imperial Presidency.”

This hearing was broadcast on CSPAN and is archived here:

Part 1
Part 2

Witnesses includes former representatives Bob Barr and Elizabeth Holtzman, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, former Deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein, former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, and Elliot Adams of Veterans for Peace.

Cheney Must Be Very Angry

If, as I do, you believe that the writings of the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes reflect the views of Dick Cheney, particularly on matters having to do with the “Axis of Evil,” then you would have to conclude from the lead editorial in this week’s edition that the vice president is really, truly angry about the drift of U.S. policy toward the Axis’ two surviving charter members, especially Iran. “Stunningly Shameful” is the name of the piece written by Hayes on behalf of the editors, which also, of course, includes Bill Kristol.

The title is taken from a quote attributed to “former adviser to Condoleezza Rice,” the principal villain of the piece about whom, you’ll remember, Hayes did a real hatchet job in a lengthy feature article in the magazine’s June 2 edition. One can speculate who that “former adviser” is — it could be someone from her National Security Council days like Elliott Abrams or J.D. Crouch or from the State Department, such as Robert Joseph or, of course, John Bolton whose complaints about the ”intellectual collapse” of the administration, if not Bush himself, has become a staple of New York Times coverage since Rice sent William Burns to the Geneva talks last weekend. In any event, I can’t imagine Hayes writing about anything of special interest to the subject of his fawning biography without the latter’s presumed or even actual approval. (The 2007 book, Cheney: The Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President, is available used and new for as little as $2.79 on amazon.com.)

“It has been a dispiriting few weeks,” Hayes sighs. “Several conservative political appointees have said that they are embarrassed to be working the Bush administration.” Would that include the vice president?

A Kristol-Odierno Meeting at Fort Hood?

I missed the interview, but Colonel Pat Lang, the former senior intelligence officer and Middle East expert whose blog I always find highly informative, plain-spoken, and not a little provocative, is certainly asking the right questions about Bill Kristol’s reference on Fox News today his recent visit, along with a “small group,” to Fort Hood to talk to Gen. Odierno, who has just been confirmed as Gen. Petraeus successor and Washington’s top military commander in Iraq. I can’t imagine what Kristol, who reportedly speaks with Sen. John McCain pretty regularly and has long been close to some of McCain’s top foreign-policy advisers (Randy Scheunemann, Bob and Fred Kagan, etc.), would tell Odierno about Iraq or military strategy that the general does not already know, so the question is why Odierno wanted to arrange a talk with one of the neo-conservatives’ top polemicists, if not to seek his advice about how to wage the war on the home front, or, worse, how to help boost McCain and the Republicans in the run-up to the November election. And did the Pentagon actually pay for the trip???

Visit Lobelog.com for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service’s Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

Protesting HCR 362 at Nancy Pelosi’s House

Over 100 San Francisco antiwar activists protested against the Iran blockade bill, HCR 362, at Nancy Pelosi’s house on Saturday. The protest was emotional, and three people were arrested for trespassing.

This coverage was the lead story on KRON Channel 4’s evening news. The main speaker is Marc Joffe, a local libertarian supporter of Antiwar.com.

Update: Here is an additional report from Janet Weil of CODEPINK:

Three activists arrested for breaking through police barricades around Pelosi’s Pacific Heights mansion and “dying in” on her walkway.A strong, heartfelt, focussed coalition action with great music, signs with photos of Iranian children, an altar with symbols of Iranian culture, many banners and signs including on H Con Res 362 and $400 million for covert ops in Iran!

At a powerful “No War with Iran” action at Pelosi’s Pacific Heights home, code pinkers Toby Blome and Phoebe sorgen (yes, lower case s) and peace organizer David Hartsough were arrested during the Die-In. They broke through the police barricades around Pelosi’s home (no, she was not home — she was in Austin, Texas being protested by Austin CODEPINK!) to lie down as examples of the death that will come to yet another country if the build-up toward war is not halted.

Medea Benjamin and Leslie Angeline were among the dozen or so representing CODEPINK. They joined over 60 others from Action Against Torture, DASW, World Can’t Wait, Western States Legal Defense and probably other organizations. FM DJ Soul of 104.1 in Berkeley spoke out powerfully during the Die-In.

A strong, heartfelt, focussed action with great music, signs with photos of Iranian children, an altar, many banners and signs!

When Toby was being walked to the police car in handcuffs, she called out in a strong but anguished voice, “Pelosi, not another war!” The crowd warmly cheered and applauded the courage of Toby, Phoebe and David.

At the end of the gathering, Medea, just back from DC, said that we need to call Pelosi’s office on Monday to demand that she withdraw H Con Res 362 which calls for a naval blockade of Iran, and that East Bay pinkers need to contact Barbara Lee’s office to get her to step up public opposition to the resolution.