Operating tax-free and out of the media or watchdog spotlight is the most powerful “non-profit” association in the United States, the American Turkish Council (ATC- americanturkishcouncil.org).
Like the thousands of Associations operating inside the Washington, DC Beltway, the ATC is chartered to provide “legal and ethical” venues for American-Turkish government and business interests to meet face-to-face to improve business, security and cultural relations between the two countries. The ATC, and other Associations, has a dues structure and committee structure that includes a government relations or “educational” committee that lobbies the public and US government representatives on behalf of its members. But that’s where the similarity ends.
While the ATC is an Association in name and in charter, the reality is that it and other affiliated Associations are the US government. Theirs is the voice that matters and is the one that is heard on television and radio networks through the mouths of news-readers, senators, congressmen, presidents and military leaders. It is in and through such Associations that US political, economic and military policy is made and the American public subsequently “educated” to support policies that are not, and could not, be debated in public because of their illegality, audacity, complexity and, arguably, necessity. Instead, the creation of policy and action--or even reaction to events—is hammered out in corporate board rooms, foreign governments, research institutes, and think tanks. It all comes together in Associations like the ATC. If you want to know what’s really going on or about to come down, take a visit via the Net to the world of Associations.
Six Degrees of ATC Leaders/Members
The game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is based on the premise that the famed actor Kevin Bacon is the center of the entertainment universe and that any actor or actress can be linked back to him within six degrees. Replace Kevin Bacon with ATC leaders and/or members, and you are sure to find that any corporation, military leader, government official, former politician, and even actor can be linked back to the ATC within six degrees. The ATC is an extraordinary group of elite and interconnected group of Republicans, Democrats and corporate/military heavyweights who are spearheading one of the most ambitious strategic gambits in US history.
In 2004 the ATC was led by Bush family insider LTG Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret.) who served as Chairman of the Board. George Perlman of Lockheed Martin was the Executive Vice President and Marise Stewart of Textron the Vice President. Executives from every major US and Turkish corporation are members. Among them are Mars (candy), Coca Cola, Atlantic Records, Shell Oil, ExxonMobil, Pfizer, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Hyatt and Phillip Morris. Dozens of retired US Flag officers, ex-ambassadors and representatives sit on the ATC Board of Directors.
Counted amongst ATC’s hundreds of members are think tanks like the Eisenhower Institute, CSIS, Brookings, and AEI. Georgetown University, the University of Washington and the University of Chicago are also members of note. If the grand brains with their studies, executive reports, and statistics were not enough to overwhelm the uninitiated, there are members like the Livingston Group (Bob Livingston, ex-Congressman), the Cohen Group (William Cohen ex-SECDEF) and ex-Congressman Stephen Solarz. All three are paid big-bucks by the Turkish interests to work on their behalf in the halls of the US Congress and the Pentagon.
America Gives Birth to New EuroAsia
Now, before you yell Conspiracy! you might want to think Necessity and Stability, particularly in light of the opening to Central Asia, the Caucasus and the new Europe provided by 9-11. Pull up Net maps of Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Europe. Once you’ve done that, consider what political, economic and military activities (defined as US national interests) the United States has underway in those regions. It is no less than the development of a US-dominated New EuroAsia that includes the “Stans”, Ukraine, Chechnya, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech, Croatia, and Poland. Crazy? Hardly, it is a brilliant gamble. There are many compelling reasons to create a New EuroAsia with the US with a controlling interest.
First, there's the little matter of energy resources. The fact is that the both regions possess an abundance of resources and those countries there that don’t are key transit points for the movement of energy. With the US becoming more reliant on a stable world market for energy it’s imperative to stabilize and exploit available resources.
Second, Americans have all the candy and weapons systems they need. New markets for American products are critical for American economic survival.
Third, with WWII having ended a mere 60 years ago, US foreign policy is still very much in the hands of America’s anti-Soviet/Chinese Cold Warriors. Hence, Russia-China encirclement remains part and parcel of US policy. US military outposts close to the Russia and China’s borders dot the landscape in the New EuroAsia. As Space Daily reported, US mobile missile defense batteries are likely to appear at these bases since CONUS based systems are doomed to failure. US military outposts will also allow quick jump off points for covert operations into Russia and China, interdiction of black market WMD and their components, and drug interdiction.
Fourth, to compete against the combined economic forces of the European Union (EU), it is necessary to have a leveraging position in the New EuroAsia. For example, the EU’s Inogate Program (inogate.org/html/maps/mapsoil.htm) is a source of concern for the US as Europe has been busy for years laying the groundwork for new energy sources and transit points. The US was late to that game and is still playing catch-up.
Fifth, isolating and destabilization Iran remains paramount. Such has been the policy since the 1980’s. As recently reported, US Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have been launched from bases in Iraq to spy on Iran’s military infrastructure and nuclear reactor sites. In all likelihood such activity has been underway at least since the beginning of the 21st Century’s US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Guiding Light
ATC's is joined in the creation of the New EuroAsia by the American Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (AACC). AACC’s Honorary Council of Advisors just happens to have Scowcroft and the following persons of significance: Henry Kissinger, Zibigniew Brezinski, Lloyd Benston, John Sununu and James Baker III. Former Council members include Dick Cheney and Richard Armitage, former Undersecretary of State. Board of Trustee members include media-overkill subject Richard Perle of AEI, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, and Frank Verrastro of CSIS.
The US Kazakhstan Business Association (UKBA) features, among others, benefactors and members ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, Lockheed Martin, and Halliburton. Richard Armitage was honored last year by the UKBA and indicated in his remarks that stable economies and representative government were essential for the future of Central Asia. No argument there. He opined that “many of the nations in the region still have a long way to go toward that destination [democracy], and Kazakhstan can and should, in my view, serve as a guiding light in that journey.” Yet according to Human Rights Watch, the US State Department, Armitage’s former employer, indicated in February 2004 that “The [Kazak] Government’s human rights record remained poor, and it continued to commit numerous abuses.” In its annual report on the Kazakh government's rights record, the State Department noted that the government of Kazakhstan “severely limited citizens’ right to change their government and democratic institutions remained weak…[and that it] …restricted freedom of assembly and association and limited democratic expression by imposing restrictions on the registration of political parties.” It further stated that, “Corruption was evident at every stage and level of the judicial process.”
Friends in Odd and High Places
“It is a place of total lawlessness, where men with guns rule and human life carries little value. There are no human rights, one resident told me. "We don't know if we'll be alive tomorrow or even five minutes from now." It is inconceivable that a fair election can take place in this climate of fear, where shooting and forced disappearances happen on a daily basis. Civilians continue to be the main victims of this conflict. It is possible that as many as 200,000 people have been killed in the two wars combined. Many I speak with say they see the election as little more than window dressing for the West. All the while, military operations continue. "Not a single night goes by without someone disappearing. Masked men come into homes and take people away." A handful of buildings associated with oil companies are undergoing renovation. The only building in good shape is the presidential palace.
There is no running water for residents. People must buy water daily. They depend on generator power for electricity. I walked around the market, which was full of shoppers buying fruits and vegetables. This same market was attacked by missiles at the beginning of the current war, killing more than 100 people. For the first time in my life I felt what it is like to be utterly without rights, at the mercy of men with guns.”
Baghdad Burning (riverbendblog.blogspot.com) writing from Iraq, you say? Nope, it’s a former American Committee for Peace in Chechnya Committee (ACPC) staffer writing about her trip to Chechnya. Chechnya? But not to worry, our men and women of the ACPC, separated by only six degrees from their cohorts at ATC and AACC have things under control. ACPC was founded in 1999 and is chaired by former National Security Advisor Zibigniew Brezinski, former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., and former Congressman Stephen J. Solarz. ACPC, according to its website, is composed of more than one hundred distinguished Americans representing both major political parties and nearly every walk of life. And who are those 100 Americans?
Well, to name a few, there’s Geraldine Ferraro, former Democratic candidate for vice president; Frank Gaffney, CEO of the Center for Security Policy whose Board members include Doug Feith, Gordon Sullivan, CEO of the Army Association of the USA and Bob Livingston of the Livingston Group; Elliot Abrams and Mike Leeden; and, who would have guessed that Richard Gere and PJ O’Rourke would be members of the ACPC.
And the story gets routine and boring as it moves on. The Honorary Chair of the American Georgia Business Council (AGBC) is James Baker III. Its members include ExxonMobil, Northrop Grumman and Ernst and Young. President of the AGBC is S. Enders Wimbush, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and former SAIC and Booz Allen Hamilton employee. A trustee of note on the Hudson Institute is Al Haig. The same connections, whether through individuals or organizations, can be found for Ukraine and Belarus, as well as Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Six Degrees of Zibigniew Brezinski
No one argued and schemed more forcibly or convincingly for a New EuroAsia than Zibigniew Brezinski, Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, and a candidate for the role of Waldo in Where's Waldo, The Movie (tough competition coming from James Baker III).
As Wikipedia puts it of Brezinski, “In the 1990's he formulated the strategic case for buttressing the independent statehood of Ukraine, partially as a means to ending a resurgence of the Russian Empire, and to drive Russia toward integration with the West, promoting instead “geopolitical pluralism” in the space of the former Soviet Union. He developed “a plan for Europe” urging the expansion of NATO, making the case for the expansion of NATO to the Baltic Republics. He also served as U.S. Presidential emissary to Azerbaijan in order to promote the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline. Further, he led the effort to increase the endowment for the U.S.-sponsored Polish-American Freedom Foundation from the proposed $112 million to an eventual total of well over $200 million.”
All that accomplished through the power of Associations. Association ideas rubber stamped by the US Congress and backed by US military force. It’s no surprise that it was in the decade of the 1990’s, long out of the US government and working through private sector Associations, that Brezinski’s and corporate America's EuroAsia creation would be formalized and ultimately be realized. It all happened far sooner than expected thanks to an opportune breakdown in US security on September 11, 2001. Nonetheless, the center of gravity for it all has been the ATC and its affiliates in the Association world.
The individuals and organizations in the ATC, AGBC, ACPC, UKBA, and similarly populated groups, are in control of the design and action plans to secure America’s national interests in the New EuroAsia. It's the same story for other regions of the world—Africa, Indonesia, etc.—and even here on America’s domestic front. Does a Congressman or woman have a bright idea? Does the President have a special agenda? If they do, you can be sure it came from an Association.
Perhaps this is part of the American Republic's maturation process: more intelligent and visionary governance by Association rather than through the messy process of millions voting by the ballot box or e-voting. In such a scheme, the US Congress and the Presidency would be relegated to a symbolic role, sort of like that played by the King and Queen of England. The US security establishment would be called into action based on the voting results of a Congress of Associations. Then again, when you cast your vote, you are in essence voting the Association platform. Sound bizarre? Such is today’s world. When Richard Armitage can say with a straight face that Kazakhstan should be the guiding light of democracy in Central Asia, it’s time to swallow the bitter pill of reality and recognize that how America governs itself, and designs and implements policy, is changing. Whether the US and the world will be better off remains to be seen.
Teddy Roosevelt once said that "Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”
That was a smart thing to say in 1906 when business and politics were still trying to figure each other out. In 2005, he’d be dismissed as an opponent of America’s national interests as there is no difference between the two.
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in political and security matters. His most recent book is America 2004: A Power But Not Super. He is working on an article discussing Sibel Edmonds and the ATC, along with a book on America’s Defense Related Non-Profits. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org