December 21, 2004

Cyber Century Forum: Expanding US Influence

So who are the Cyber Century Forum (CCF) people behind the Iraq The Model blog's patrons, "Spirit of America"? These are old guard warhorses from the Cold War, people who were probably hiding under the desk with Cheney and Rumsfeld when the post-Nixon Church Commision started exposing the dark side of US foreign policy.

Diana Lady Dougan, who rose to Assistant Secretrary of State from 1982 to 1988 in the Reagan administration, is the public face of CCF, flittering from one top-level international chat-fest to another. She is currently a Senior Advisor at the infamous Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). According to Disinfopedia, CSIS is "one of those ephemeral constellations into which the luminaries of the American political establishment frequently arrange themselves in order to encourage policy to navigate by their lights". For example, a May 2003 Declaration proposes that
"the states of the European Union, which are among the richest and most powerful states in the world, should invite US government officials to attend their highest-level legislative and policy-making meetings, in order that these officials can ensure that the Europeans do not pursue policies which are independent of, or disapproved by, the American government."
I would assume there is some connection between the CSIS and the more recent neo-conservative think-tank "The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies".

The CCF heavily promotes a self-published book, Arab & Muslim Countries: Profiles in Contrast, which is a pastiche of information from "20 major data banks including those of the UN, World Bank, and CIA". It is strongly endorsed by both Henry Kissenger and William H. Webster, former head of both the CIA and the FBI.

Cyber Century Forum VP and General Counsel, Tedson J. Meyers was a neo-conservative before they even invented the term (click here if that doesn't make sense to you). Meyers was Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the days when the FCC had a lot of power and influence. He was appointed to the non-elected Washington D.C. City Council by President Richard M. Nixon in 1972.

Hello! Nixon, Kissenger, Reagan.... is there a pattern here or what?

Snippets from ancient press clippings on Meyer's website include a report of a "controversial memo" to JFK while Meyers was in the FCC.
...overseas telecasts should be guided along "lines most beneficial to the foreign policy of the US"
Here's another snippet revealing Meyers' capacity for subterfuge and his early inclinations towards US Empire:
"Working unofficially, Meyers prepared a plan for a Government Office of International Broadcasting to exploit the potential power of international TV and radio broadcasting in our national interest. Among his suggestions: American assistance in developing foreign broadcasting systems and introduction of US programming therein, development of low-cost transmitters and receivers for use overseas, encouragement of private American investment in overseas TV, stimulating programs which could serve our foreign policy objectives and "resolving whether it is desireable to establish criteria for the content of American programming displayed overseas - and if so, how such criteria should be determined and applied."
And here's a 4-page article called "The Unknown Influentials":
"these men not only implement policy, but frequently shape it..."
There is only one other member of the Cyber Century Forum (according to their website) and that is G. Russell Pipe. Like Dougan, he is a member of the CSIS. He is also is deputy director of the Global Information Infrastructure Commission (GIIC), "a nongovernmental initiative to provide a framework to bridge gaps between the private and public sector for the development of information infrastructure". He is author or co-author of at least four books, including "Assessing Data Privacy in the 1990's and Beyond."

So now ask yourself: why are people like these providing financial support for a supposedly 100% humanitarian charity like Spirit of America? And why does their Forum have $100K investments in the US oil industry? What's in it for them?

Then ask yourself: why would a team of Iraqi bloggers want to help these people peddle increased US influence and power across not just the Middle East, but ultimately the world? Coz that's their goal, folks...

2 comments:

elendil said...

You have shown that CCF is strongly associated with a particular political viewpoint, however I'm not sure that you have shown a strong connection between SoA and CCF. While it may be true that SoA were assisted by CCF in the beginning, they have since become independent of CCF (see the blog entry comments on SoA's website that you point to below). I think it's unremarkable that the leaders of CCF would support something like SoA. It is in the best interests of that political persuasion to encourage any efforts to support troops and improve conditions in Iraq, especially if it puts American involvement in Iraq in a positive light. While we might speculate as to the purity of CCF's true motivations -- as to whether they were more interested in charity or in justifying the occupation -- the end result is the same; a humanitarian organisation is now operating to improve conditions in Iraq (albeit one with a very patriotic name and face). But then, even war-mongering neocons need charities to donate to :-) Perhaps we're in violent agreement here.

Anyway, it is my opinion that the more interesting story is how much of their work is actual charity, and how much of it is a kind of American patriotic proselytising. I am reminded of the notorious Samaritans Purse, who would send shoeboxes full of toys to Afghan children, and insert Christian stories in them. How useful is it to give children toys, at $5 a box, when what they really need is education and a way for their families to get out of poppy farming? The call for polaroids, for example, clearly serves two purposes, although it would be very unfair to make a direct comparison between that and Samaritans Purse's cynical exercise.

Perhaps you can find something more interesting. The control of the Iraqi blogging tool is probably a good place to start. I am hoping that Ali will shed some light on this in the future (if that is indeed what troubles him).

josh narins said...

I was looking up CSIS, because I wasn't quite sure about them. I was part right. The Chair is/was Brent Scowcroft, who was writing against the Iraq War.

However, Hunt, of Hunt Oil, is on it.

Haroldson Lafayette Hunt was a Texas Oil Billionaire.

After Ike was elected, the old-school, anti-New Deal "Taft Republicans" got a lot of money from Hunt...

Eisenhower, in a letter to his reactionary brother Edgar, May 2, 1956...

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws, and farm programs you would not hear of that party again, in our political history.

"There is a tiny splinter group that believes you can do these
things, among them are H.L. Hunt, a few Texas oil millionaires,
and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas.

"Their numbers are negligible, and they are stupid."

The Taft Republicans, (sort of like Scowcroft?) were the Isolationist Party, not a war party.

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