Why Brookings Institution and Establishment Love Wars

by | Jan 14, 2016


Washington’s public relations operations for the military contracting firms that surround the US Capitol aren’t by for-profit PR firms, so much as they’re by “non-profit” foundations and think tanks, which present that “non-profit” cover for their sales-promotion campaigns on behalf of the real beneficiaries: owners and top executives of these gigantic defense contracting corporations, such as Lockheed Martin, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Among the leading propagandists for invading Iraq back in 2002 were Ken Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon, both with the Brookings Institution; and both propagandists still are frequently interviewed by American news media as being “experts” on international relations, when all they ever really have been is salesmen for US invasions, such as that 2003 invasion, which destroyed Iraq and cost US taxpayers $3 trillion+ or $4.4 trillion – benefiting only the few beneficiaries and their agents, such as the top executives of these “non-profits,” which receive a small portion of the take, as servants usually do.

More recently, Brookings’s Shadi Hamid headlined on 14 September 2013, “The US-Russian Deal on Syria: A Victory for Assad,” and the PR-servant there, Dr Hamid, argued that:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is effectively being rewarded for the use of chemical weapons, rather than ‘punished’ as originally planned… Assad and his Russian backers played on Obama’s most evident weakness, exploiting his desire to find a way – any way – out of military action… One might be forgiven for thinking that this was Assad’s plan all along, to use chemical weapons as bait, to agree to inspections after using them, and then to return to conventional killing.

Three weeks after that Brookings “expert” had issued it, the great investigative journalist Christof Lehmann, on 7 October 2014, headlined and offered facts to the exact contrary at his nsnbc news site, “Top US and Saudi Officials Responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria,” and he opened by summarizing his extensive case: “Evidence leads directly to the White House, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, CIA Director John Brennan, Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar, and Saudi Arabia´s Interior Ministry.” Then, on 14 January 2014, the MIT professor Theodore Postal and the former UN weapons-inspector Richard Lloyd performed a detailed analysis of the rocket that had delivered the sarin, and found that it had been fired from territory controlled by the anti-Assad rebels, not by Assad’s forces. Then, yet another great investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, bannered in the London Review of Books, on 17 April 2014, “The Red Line and the Rat Line: Seymour M Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels,” and he reported that what had actually stopped Obama from invading Syria was Obama’s embarrassment at British intelligence having discovered that Obama’s case against Assad regarding the gas attack was fake.

Obama suddenly needed a face-saving way to cancel his pre-announced American bombing campaign to bring down the Assad government, since he wouldn’t have even the UK as an ally in it:

Obama’s change of mind [weakening his ardor against Assad] had its origins at Porton Down, the [British] defense laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff.

Did Dr Hamid or any other Brookings “expert” ever issue a correction and make note of of their earlier falsehoods, or did they all instead hide this crucially important reality – that not only was the rocket fired from rebel territory but its sarin formula was different from that in Syria’s arsenals, and the actual suppliers were the US, Sauds, Qataris, and Turks – did they not correct their prior war-mongering misrepresentations, but instead hide the fact that the Obama allegations had been exposed to have been frauds and that Obama himself had been one of the planners behind the sarin gas attack? They hid the truth.

Back on 14 June 2013, a Brookings team of Dr Hamid, with Bruce Riedel, Daniel L Byman, Michael Doran, and Tamara Cofman Wittes, had headlined, “Syria, the US, and Arming the Rebels: Assad’s Use of Chemical Weapons and Obama’s Red Line”, and they alleged that, although “President Obama has been extremely reluctant to get involved in Syria, regime change is the only way to end this conflict,” and they applauded the “confirmation that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Syria,” but doubted that Obama would bomb Syria hard enough and often enough. None of them ever subsequently acknowledged that, in fact, they had misstated (been suckered by a US government fraud, if even they had believed it), and that Obama actually drove this hoax harder than his Joint Chiefs of Staff had advised him to.

These are the US aristocracy’s “experts”: basically PhD’d crass “non-profit” (or at least tax-exempt, regarding Brookings and most of the other PR-fronts) war-mongers – stenographers to power, who hide the truth, instead of report the truth.

And then, of course, there’s the secretive but proudly profit-making, part of this operation, where the really big money is made, and billionaires become multibillionaires.

Public Integrity’s report, “Investing in War: The Carlyle Group profits from government and conflict” observes that, “From its founding in 1987, the Carlyle Group has pioneered investing in the defense and national security markets, and through its takeover of companies with billions of dollars in defense contracts became one of the US military’s top vendors.” Carlyle Group is now “the largest private equity firm in the world” as a result of such things as the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the burgeoning terrorism and military responses to that – also profitable – which have followed in its wake. For example, ISIS started in Iraq in 2006, and has been a boon to Carlyle Group, as the US drops bombs to address that problem.

The military conflicts in Ukraine are also profitable to them, because that’s now yet another place where the US sends weapons and advisors, after Obama’s February 2014 coup in Ukraine turned that country into a US satellite against its neighbor Russia – which it hadn’t previously been – thus extending the US aristocracy’s control even further.

In 2003, Dan Briody’s exposé “The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group” described how the former Wall Street lawyer and advisor to US President Jimmy Carter, David L Rubenstein, teamed up briefly with Stephen L Norris, a senior executive of the Republican firm, Marriott Corporation, to create Carlyle Group, and to bring in as its leader the Republican Frank Carlucci, who had been US President Ronald Reagan’s last Secretary of Defense and who privatized much of the Pentagon’s operation to Booze Allen Hamilton and other large firms. Carlucci brought in Reagan-Bush friend Fred Malek, and then George Herbert Walker Bush, George W. Bush, James Baker, Richard Darman, Fidel Ramos, John Major, and other believers in privatizing government and whose friends included many of the people to whom it became privatized. These people all live by their networking, and by the revolving door between private contractors and “public servants.”

The “Annual Report 2015” from the Brookings Institution, opens with the “Co-Chairs’ Message” on page 2, which is signed by Brookings’s co-chairmen, David L Rubenstein and John L Thornton. Thornton is a former Chairman of Goldman Sachs. Cheng Li is the Director of the John L Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, and he attended the super-secretive Bilderberg meetings both in 2012 and in 2014, and so might have been Thornton’s agent there. Peter Sutherland, the Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, was also there. The main topic at the 2014 meeting was the war in Ukraine, but other wars were also on the agenda, such as Syria, and so were President Obama’s “trade” treaties: TPP, TTIP, and TISA. Other luminaries present at those secret discussions were Timothy Geithner, Eric Schmidt, Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Charles Murray, etc., and Europeans such as Christine Lagarde and Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Perhaps some sales were made. In 2013, Jeff Bezos and Donald Graham met at the Bilderberg conference, and two months later, Bezos agreed to buy the Washington Post from Graham. Less than a year after that, Bezos’s Amazon won the CIA-NSA cloud computing contract, vital to the US military. Bezos’s most profitable operation has allegedly been that military contract, and the money-losing Washington Post is a longstanding supporter of US armed invasions, which require lots of cloud computing. For example, the WP was gung-ho for regime-change in Iraq in 2002, as well as, more recently, for bombing Libya, Syria, and the bombing in Ukraine’s civil war after the coup.

That Annual Report lists ten donors who gave “$2,000,000 and Above” during the prior year; and one of them was David M Rubenstein, and another was John L Thornton. Another was “Embassy of the State of Qatar,” Qatar being the fundamentalist Sunni chief financial backer of the fundamentalist Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, and also one of the two chief funders of the jihadist groups that are trying to take over the non-sectarian but mainly Shiite-ruled Syrian government. The Thani family that own Qatar want to run a pipeline through Syria, but they can’t do that unless a fundamentalist Sunni government takes over Syria. Also, the US takeover of Ukraine disrupts Russia’s pipelining gas to Europe, which pipelines run mainly through Ukraine. So, Brookings is a major PR agency for that goal of boosting gas-sales by the Thanis, and cutting gas-sales by Russia.

During February 2015, Brookings issued a report from their team of Ivo Daalder, Michele Flournoy, John Herbst, Jan Lodal, Steven Pifer, James Stavridis, Strobe Talbott, and Charles Wald, titled “Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression,” and it urged President Obama to increase the supply of US weapons to the civil war in Ukraine. Strobe Talbott is the President of the Brookings Institution, and he is a lifelong hater of Russia and of Russians; so, maybe he actually enjoys this shoddy shilling for mass-killing.

Reprinted with permission from the Strategic Culture Foundation.


  • Eric Zuesse

    Eric Zuesse is an investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010