Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Monday, March 21, 2005

csmonitor.com: What is a Neoconservative

csmonitor.com: "Neoconservative


Want the US to be the world's unchallenged superpower
Share unwavering support for Israel
Support American unilateral action
Support preemptive strikes to remove perceived threats to US security
Promote the development of an American empire
Equate American power with the potential for world peace
Seek to democratize the Arab world
Push regime change in states deemed threats to the US or its allies
Historical neoconservative: President Teddy Roosevelt

Modern neoconservative: President Ronald Reagan"

Eli Lake Acused of covering for an Isaeli Spy Ring

American Free Press News March 2002: "American Free Press March 18, 2002

Massive Spy Ring Linked to Sept. 11

Some people thought they had buried the story of Israeli foreknowledge of the impending 9-11 terrorist attacks, but now that story is taking on a new life of its own.

By Michael Collins Piper

There is strong evidence Israeli intelligence operatives engaged in clandestine dealings on American soil and almost certainly had advance knowledge of the impending terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Israel, however, did not report this information to the American authorities. A sudden spate of news stories in the mainstream media over a three-day period cast new light on this story that first reached a national audience in the Dec. 17 issue of American Free Press which actually went to press on Dec. 7, 2001.

At that time, AFP noted that buried within a story in The Washington Post on Nov. 23 was the little-known fact that a number of Israeli nationals taken into custody by federal authorities after the Sept. 11 tragedy were suspected of having material knowledge relative to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Then, on Dec. 12, five days after the AFP story was published, Carl Cameron of Brit Hume's Special Report on Fox News, broke his report on a wide-ranging Israeli espionage ring uncovered on U.S. soil.

Cameron reported that there was evidence that those Israeli agents were watching the 9-11 terrorists prior to the Sept. 11 tragedy. On Dec. 24, AFP summarized Cameron's report in which he stated in part:

There is no indication the Israelis were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, but investigators suspect that they may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance and not shared it. A highly-placed investigator told Fox News there are "tie-ins," but when asked for details flatly refused to describe them. "Evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It is classified information."

During the segment, host Brit Hume asked Cameron: "What about this question of advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on 9-11? How clear are investigators that some Israeli agents may have known something?"Cameron responded: "It's very explosive information, obviously, and there's a great deal of evidence that they say they have collected. None of it necessarily conclusive. It's more when they put it all together. A bigger question, they say, is "How could they not have known?" [That is] almost a direct quote [from the investigators]."

The Fox report indicated that even prior to Sept. 11 as many as 140 other Israelis had been detained or arrested in what was described by reporter Cameron as "a secretive and sprawling investigation into suspected espionage by Israelis in the United States." According to Cameron:

Investigators are focusing part of their efforts on Israelis who said they are art students from the University of Jerusalem or Bezalel Academy and repeatedly made contact with U.S. government personnel by saying they wanted to sell cheap art or handiwork.

Documents say they "targeted" and penetrated military bases, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, dozens of government facilities and even secret offices and unlisted private homes of law enforcement and intelligence personnel.

After Fox made this amazing report, there was an angry response from the Israeli lobby in America. The Dec. 21 issue of the New York-based Forward reported that Fox and Cameron were "under fire."

Whatever the case, Fox News pulled the transcriptions of Cameron's broadcast reports off its Internet web site, saying that "this story no longer exists," even though, at the time, Cameron had told Forward that he continued to stand behind his story. It appeared as though Cameron's story was destined for the Memory Hole, but for reports about it that had appeared in AFP and on the Internet.

However, on March 4, the story first pioneered by AFP and Fox News came back to life thanks to the famous French daily, Le Monde which hit the streets with a story charging that "a vast Israeli espionage network operating on American territory has been broken up," describing the network of "Israeli art students" that Fox had first reported.

Le Monde's story relied largely on reporting an independent investigation conducted by the Paris-based Intelligence Online (an Internet-based newsletter), which, in turn, had obviously been directed by the Fox report and the sources made available to Fox.

The story developed by Intelligence Online, according to Le Monde, charged quite specifically that Israel had withheld information that it had developed, through its spying operations in the United States, about the impending Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

LeMonde cited transcriptions of the previous work by Carl Cameron on Fox and pointed out how Fox itself refused to cooperate with Le Monde, saying that it was "a problem," but that Fox refused to be specific.

According to Intelligence Online, the suspects in the Israeli spying operation were all between 22 and 30 and had recently completed their Israeli military service. Six of the suspected spies had used portable telephones bought by a former Israeli vice consul in the United States. Many of the suspects were also linked to Israeli information technology companies.

Le Monde also noted that Intelligence Online had received a copy of a 61-page report prepared by an officer of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and others from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. (A spokesman for the DEA, Will Glaspy, confirmed to Le Monde that the DEA "holds a copy" of that report.)

The report cited by Le Monde specifically pointed out that one-third of the suspected Israeli spies had been based in Florida, and at least five of them were on site in Hollywood, Fla., where accused Sept. 11 hijacker ringleader Muhammad Atta and four of his purported accomplices also lived.

The United States has deported 120 young Israelis posing as "art students" for visa violations. However, some officials do suspect them of spying.

On March 5, Reuters, the sometimes quite independent press service, carried a report describing Le Monde's article (even including the allegation of Israeli foreknowledge of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks). Reuters, however, cited an un-named FBI spokesman who called it a "bogus story," saying—despite all the evidence to the contrary—that "there wasn't a spy ring."

On March 6, the Associated Press ran its own version (which appeared in some newspapers across the country) and reported that there had been allegations that so-called Israeli "art students" deported from the United States were "suspected" of spying.

AP's report, however, did not mention the implication that this spy ring had advance knowledge relating to the activities of the 9-11 terrorists.

On March 6 Washington Post staff writers John Mintz and Dan Eggen also wrote a story about the affair, but their version had a notably different spin.

The Post story was headlined "Reports of Israeli spy ring dismissed" and claimed that "a wide array of U.S. officials" had dismissed the reports that the U.S. government had broken up "an Israeli espionage ring that consisted of young Israelis attempting to penetrate U.S. agencies by selling artwork in federal buildings."

Mintz and Eggen reported that Attorney General Ashcroft's spokeswoman at the Justice Department, Susan Dryden, described the story as "an urban myth that has been circulating for months." She added: "The department has no information at this time to substantiate these widespread reports about Israeli art students involved in espionage."

The two Post writers suggest that the allegations appear to have been circulated in a memo written (and leaked) by a single "disgruntled" employee of the DEA who, Mintz and Eggen say, is "angry" that FBI and CIA sources have rejected what the Post duo dismissively calls his "theories."

The memo is presumably the same one that Intelligence Online used in as partial basis for its report.

So while the Post admits that the DEA memo does exist, the Post is trying to dismiss its reliability by charging that "a single employee" who is "disgruntled" and "angry" is its source.

However, even as it is trying to suggest that a DEA loner was behind the charges, the Post article does acknowledge in its closing paragraph:

DEA spokesman Thomas Hinojosa said that multiple reports of suspicious activity on the part of young Israelis had come into the agency's Washington headquarters from agents in the fields. The reports were summarized in a draft memo last year, but Hinojosa said he did not have a copy and could not vouch for the accuracy of media reports describing its contents.

What is perhaps the most intriguing twist about the Post story is that co-author Mintz is the Post staffer who wrote in the Post on Nov. 23 that among a total of some 60 young Israeli Jews picked up by the FBI in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, there was at least a handful being held on suspicion of having material knowledge about the attacks themselves.

At that time Mintz pointed out that while most of the Israelis arrested and detained since Sept. 11 were held on immigration charges and not suspected of any involvement in terrorism, there were exceptions. According to Mintz's previous Post article (published on Nov. 23):

In several cases, such as those in Cleveland and St. Louis, INS officials testified in court hearings that they were "of special interest to the government," a term that federal agents have used in many of the hundreds of cases involving mostly Muslim Arab men who have been detained around the country since the terrorist attacks.

An INS official who requested anonymity said the agency will not comment on the Israelis. He said the use of the term "special interest" means the case in question is "related to the investigation of Sept. 11."

What Mintz did not say in his more recent Post article of March 6 was that some of these same Israelis that he was writing about on Nov. 23 have been implicated in the spy ring that his most recent article suggests is "an urban myth."

Now, Mintz's co-author, Dan Eggen, has revealed a new detail about yet another Israeli official to the events of 9-11. It turns out that another "former" Israeli operative was actually traveling on one of the ill-fated Sept. 11 flights alongside the Arab hijackers. (See related story on page 4.)

United Press International has yet to cover the developments in the Israeli spy ring story, which might be explained by the fact that its chief international correspondent, Eli Lake, is a devotee of Israel who previously worked for Forward, the Jewish community newspaper which bragged on Dec. 21 how the Fox story had been buried by other media."

American Free Press News March 2002 Rendon Group Public Relations Firm Joins War Efforts

American Free Press News March 2002: "American Free Press March 4, 2002

Top Washington Public Relations Firm Joins War Efforts

In D.C. the name of the game is public relations and the Bush Administration has contracted some old pros to foist the ever widening war on terrorism on the world.

By Christopher Bollyn

The Pentagon has hired the Rendon Group (TRG), a powerful Washington public-relations firm run by John W. Rendon Jr., to "advise" the Pentagon's newly-formed disinformation agency, the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI).

TRG reportedly had a four-month contract worth $397,000 to help the Pentagon look good while bombing Afghanistan. TRG will supplement the efforts of the Army's 4th Psychological Operations Group, which is based at Fort Bragg and is now conducting operations in Afghanistan and the surrounding region.

Rendon coordinated George McGovern's presidential campaign in Maine in the early 1970s and later worked for Michael Dukakis when he ran for governor of Massachusetts. After working on Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign in 1980, Rendon went to work for the Democratic National Committee, and eventually became its executive director.

TRG's biggest operations are reported to have been in support of the Pentagon and the CIA. In describing his work in a speech to the Air Force Academy in 1996, Rendon said, "I am a person who uses communications to meet public policy or corporate objectives. I am an information warrior and a perception manager.

The group has been hired on several occasions to support U.S. military actions. During the past decade the firm has worked to shape public opinion during the conflicts in Panama, Haiti, Kuwait and Iraq.

TRG's first national security assignment came in 1989, during Operation Just Cause, the U.S. invasion of Panama. After Manuel Noriega was overthrown, TRG offered "crisis management and operational support" to the new U.S.-backed government and "courted the international press and overseas radio stations to make the cause real to other governments and to give hope to Panamanians."


TRG's next assignment came the following year, when it supported the Kuwaiti government in exile after the Iraqi invasion. Rendon and his staffers set up a TV production house in London that specialized in fabricating atrocities carried out by Saddam Hussein's troops.

The group has done extensive work for the Central Intelligence Agency, the Kuwaiti royal family, and the Iraqi National Congress - the opposition group seeking to oust Saddam.

Founded in 1981, TRG has offices in Boston and Washington and a staff of about two dozen people, including a number of former White House operatives and congressional staffers.

TRG worked with Hill & Knowlton, who masterminded the pro-Kuwaiti propaganda campaign. And while Kuwait's activities directed at manipulating American public opinion should have been exposed as foreign propaganda under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the Justice department chose not to enforce it.

In one of the most glaring examples of disinformation foisted on the American public, in November 1990, a 15-year old Kuwaiti girl testified before the Congress that she had seen Iraqi soldiers tossing premature babies onto the floor of a Kuwaiti hospital so their incubators could be sent to Iraq.

Senators cited her testimony as a crucial factor in their decision to go to war with Iraq.

It later turned out that the girl was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United states and that her "testimony" had been arranged and scripted by Hill & Knowlton.

As a public-relations firm, Rendon has clients in 79 countries, including official trade agencies of the United States, Bulgaria, Russia, and Uzbekistan. One of Rendon's clients has been the alSabah family, the royal family of Kuwait.

TRG helped al Sabah create a sympathetic image in the United states during the Gulf War.

Rendon has worked with the CIA to build the Iraqi National Congress, the U.S.-backed group that is seeking to oust Saddam Hussein. In 1991, TRG "provided it with its name and more than $12 million in covert funding between 1992 and 1996," according to ABC News.

TRG spent nearly $24 million in 1991 and 1992 to produce a nedia blitz against Saddam with comic books, videos, a traveling "atrocity exhibition" photo exhibit, and two "gray" clandestine radio stations. The stations Rendon designed and supervised were Radio Hurriah (Radio Freedom) and the Iraqi Broadcasting Corporation (IBC).

TRG also worked to build international support for continued economic sanctions against Iraq, even as reports of civilian suffering and mass starvation were beginning to attract widespread attention.

Eli J. Lake Lobbies for Feith's OSP to Run the INC (Could He Be Shilling For Mossad) 1/9/02

Eli J. Lake on Iraq on National Review Online: "Botching Iraqi Policy
The State Department getting in the way.

By Eli J. Lake, State Department correspondent, United Press International
January 9, 2002 8:25 a.m.

ast week the State Department cut off nearly all funding for the Iraqi National Congress, citing financial mismanagement.

State claims the coalition of rebels has failed to implement the basic reforms called for in a U.S. audit completed last October. They complain that there are no procedures in place to account for how the INC's information-collection program spends its money. And they raise concerns over the effectiveness of other programs.

The INC counters that the program employs operatives in dangerous countries surrounding Iraq that can't have their names show up in a document that could be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Sparking a revolution is, after all, messy business that doesn't neatly fit into annual ledgers.

The real problem is not how the rebels keep their books, but rather what they intend to do with the money that's on them. The INC's driving force, Ahmad Chalabi, has been fairly straightforward about how he intends to use American support. He wants to eventually train enough men to challenge a single Iraqi brigade and gain a foothold inside Iraq, a home address to attract more defectors and soldiers to fight Saddam. Chalabi came close to this goal in 1996 before the Kurdish Democratic Party allowed Saddam's troops to vanquish the remaining stronghold the INC had in northern Iraq in Erbil.

Not surprising, the State Department does not share the INC's view of itself. It would like for the group to be a political organization, nonviolently presenting alternative perspectives on Saddam's rule through newspapers and until recently a television station.

The problem in Iraq appears to not be so much a question of popular support for ousting their ruler but faith that a group of Saddam's opponents would have enough military muscle to protect them from the state's death squads. After all countless Iraqis were slaughtered in 1991 when the first President Bush told them to rise up against the regime and then allowed that regime to use its remaining helicopters to put down the rebellion.

In the last ten years, Iraqi people's faith inside in the opposition has weakened in the face of bungled coups and Washington's foot dragging. This trend appears to be exacerbated by a near four-year marriage between Chalabi's rebels and the State Department. Iraqi rebels do not need better accountants, they need weapons and training superior to the Iraqi Republican Guards (and probably lots of U.S. air power).

If the second President Bush is serious about toppling Saddam's government, he should not entrust this task to diplomats who are prized for their skills in negotiating with existing governments. The stated goal of Iraq policy for the INC, Congress, and, for that matter, the Republican party (according to the 2000 platform) is the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. In foreign policy speak this is called regime change, which is a nice way of saying war, the proper domain of the Pentagon.

But regime change runs counter to the grist of what the State Department does. Modern diplomacy is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of states within the international system. The notion was first sketched out in the 1815 Congress of Vienna and is enshrined in the chapter two of the United Nations Charter. The idea is simple, no matter what different governments think of each other, they may not interfere in each other's internal affairs, because every country is a sovereign entity. For this reason, much of the CIA's work is secret. Washington can't come right out and say they are influencing events inside a country because it violates the basic tenets of diplomacy.

Letting the diplomats manage an insurrection inside Iraq is akin to asking the director of Central Intelligence to negotiate a ceasefire between the Israelis and Palestinians. Admittedly, this is a bad analogy since the substance of the current U.S. ceasefire proposal for the holy land was negotiated by George Tenet last June. But it proves the point, the spymaster's ceasefire failed miserably, just ask the Israeli navy.

As abhorrent as Saddam's regime is, the United States still formally recognizes it as the government of Iraq. Mind you this hasn't stopped American spies from buying off various Saddam opponents or hatching coup plots, but the State Department at least doesn't have to worry about these matters. Contrast this with the Taliban, which the United States never recognized as the government of Afghanistan or the current warlords who run Somalia. The diplomatic problems with military action in those places are far less complicated.

Foggy Bottom has long been suspicious of Chalabi and his plans for insurrection inside Iraq. The State Department has opposed not only arming and training INC rebels but also a more modest plan to distribute humanitarian aid inside the country. In October, the State Department even sent an envoy to London to urge the INC's leadership not to make defectors the group recruited available to journalists and other U.S. intelligence agencies.

Meanwhile, the primary Iraq policy goal of the State Department, at least under Colin Powell, has been the modification of international sanctions against Iraq. This policy by its nature recognizes the legitimacy of Saddam's regime because if "smart sanctions" work then they will persuade him to allow weapons inspectors inside the country. As one State Department official told me recently, "Regime change is plan B if the sanctions don't work."

The Pentagon opposed smart sanctions from the beginning of the administration and also made a modest grab for the INC account in the early part of the 2002 budget process. The reason is because people who work at the Pentagon focus on winning wars. Most analysts there believe that Saddam Hussein is at war with the United States and should therefore be defeated, Congress of Vienna be damned. After all, the guy tried to kill the first President Bush in Kuwait and won't live up to the terms of the agreements he signed to end the Gulf War back in 1991 anyway.

Fortunately for President Bush, the Pentagon employs many experts in the kind of war likely to be most successful against Saddam. They reside in the office of Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. If the president wishes to end Saddam Hussein's career as a statesman he should transfer INC responsibilities to the SOLIC offices.

If not, he should just come out and say he opposes regime change in Iraq and propose legislation reversing the Iraq Liberation Act that set aside the first bundle of money for the INC in 1998. In the meantime he should do Colin Powell and Ahmad Chalabi both a favor and promise them that neither will have to deal with each other again."

Eli Lake Plants Phony Anti-Iran Story in UPI Wire Feed

United Press International: U.S.: Iran will infiltrate 5 Iraqi cities: "U.S.: Iran will infiltrate 5 Iraqi cities
By Eli J. Lake
UPI State Department Correspondent

Published 4/3/2003 7:37 PM

WASHINGTON, April 3 (UPI) -- Iran's senior leadership decided last month to send irregular paramilitary units across their border with Iraq to harass American soldiers once Saddam Hussein's regime fell, according to U.S. intelligence reports.

On March 24, a U.S. intelligence agency issued a "spot report" to a wide range of senior U.S. officials detailing conversations in a meeting of the Islamic Republic's top leadership in the equivalent of the U.S. National Security Council. The council, which is working on Iran's post-conflict strategy, includes Iranian President Mohammed Khatami and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei.

"This confirmed all of our suspicions that the Iranians are not our friends and not for peace in the region. They are in fact for a piece of the region," one U.S. intelligence official told United Press International. This official said the units would target the Iraqi cities of al-Najaf and Karbala, the two places in Iraq considered holiest by the country's Shiite Muslim majority. But also targeted would be Baghdad, where several hundred thousand Iraqi Shiites live in the suburb known as Saddam City, as well as Basra and the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk.

"They were saying we have to be careful ultimately in the battle for Iraq. This is not to be won on the battlefield. Remember the tactics we need are direct confrontation we must raise the cost of occupation," this official said recounting the conversation detailed in the March 24 intelligence report.

Adding to American concerns, previous CIA reports on Iran claim that the country's Revolutionary Guard has procured several Saudi and Kuwaiti military uniforms, a tactic another intelligence official said was meant to cause confusion on the battlefield.

The explosive intelligence from March 24 also confirmed the failure of U.S. and British diplomatic efforts in the last three months to convince Iran to remain neutral in the current conflict. On the weekend of March 16 the U.S. special envoy to the Iraqi opposition met with Iranian diplomats in Geneva, under the auspices of a U.N. grouping to discuss Afghanistan, to firm up an agreement from Tehran not to send proxy forces over their border or attempt to send agent provocateurs into Iraq during or after the conflict.

The private statements from last month's meeting follow with many of the public statements from Iran's senior leaders in the run up to Operation Iraqi Freedom. On March 14 Hujjat al-Islam Hassan Rowhani, Iran's national security adviser, warned ominously in a public statement that there will be no "happy ending to the way the Americans have chosen" for their occupation of Iraq. "The U.S. presence in the Middle East is worse than Saddam's weapons of mass destruction," Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former Iranian president and current chairman of the country's powerful expediency board, said on Feb. 7.

The intelligence has already hardened America's public reaction to Iran's intentions in the war. On March 28, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld opened his news briefing with a stark warning to the Baddr Brigades, the military wing of an Iranian opposition group that he said was "equipped and directed" by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. "The entrance into Iraq by military forces, intelligence personnel, or proxies not under the direct operational control of (Central Command Chairman) Gen. Franks will be taken as a potential threat to coalition forces," Rumsfeld said. He added that the United States would hold the Iranian government responsible for the actions of the Badr Brigades. Two days earlier when Secretary of State Colin Powell was asked whether Iranian proxies were becoming a problem for U.S. forces in the Iraq campaign, he said, "Not yet."

Copyright © 2001-2004 United Press International"

Yahoo! News - Wolfowitz Strives To Quell Criticism

Yahoo! News - Wolfowitz Strives To Quell Criticism: "Wolfowitz Strives To Quell Criticism

Mon Mar 21, 8:17 AM ET Politics - washingtonpost.com
By Paul Blustein, Washington Post Staff Writer
He has telephoned Bono, the Irish rock star who champions the cause of Africa's poor. He has granted interviews to French newspapers, planned visits to European officials and praised his prospective staffers.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, the man tapped by President Bush (news - web sites) to become president of the World Bank (news - web sites), is energetically reaching out to his critics in the hope of persuading them that he would do a lot better at heading the bank than they might think. He appears to be making progress. But as the neoconservative hawk best known as the brains behind the war in Iraq (news - web sites), he has his job cut out for him.

Since the announcement Wednesday, Bush's choice of Wolfowitz has drawn opposition from many quarters, mostly focusing on the fear that the move marked a plan to use the World Bank's antipoverty aid to reward Washington's friends, punish its enemies and advance the Bush administration's ideological agenda, especially in the Middle East. The bank lends about $20 billion a year to developing countries for projects ranging from roads to schools to HIV (news - web sites)/AIDS (news - web sites) programs.

"The world would view a bank directed by Mr. Wolfowitz as no more than an instrument of U.S. power and U.S. priorities," Britain's Financial Times wrote in an editorial, warning that the credibility of the bank's advice to poor countries would be undermined. With anti-globalization activists in an uproar over the nomination, predictions abounded that demonstrations against the bank, which have subsided in the past couple of years, would erupt anew. "We'll finally be able to use the word 'imperialism' about bank policy without raising eyebrows," chortled Soren Ambrose, an activist with the coalition 50 Years Is Enough Network, a critic of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (news - web sites).

In a sign of the antipathy toward Wolfowitz at the World Bank's headquarters, staffers last week were e-mailing each other a video clip in which the Pentagon (news - web sites) official was skewered on "The Daily Show," the satiric news program, for having miscalculated the problems involved in rebuilding Iraq.

The clip showed Wolfowitz telling a congressional panel, "It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself," and "The oil revenue of that country could bring between 50 and 100 billion dollars over the course of the next two or three years. We're dealing with a country that could really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon." The show's host, Jon Stewart, hooted, "[Bleeped] that one up, too!"

Futile though it may be to win over his most fervent detractors, Wolfowitz is striving to dispel some of the deepest concerns about his potential stewardship of the bank.

In a series of interviews that began the day Bush announced his nomination, Wolfowitz has stressed that he attaches prime importance to the bank's goal of fighting poverty, which he called "both a noble mission and . . . a matter of enlightened self-interest." He will be an "international civil servant," he vows, accountable to the board that represents the bank's 184 member nations. He has dismissed suggestions of plans for "regime change" at the bank, telling the French newspaper Le Figaro: "Many people think I will turn the organization upside down, but this is not my style at all." Although some improvements are no doubt in order, he added, "Believe me -- I am not coming with any political program or a ready criticism of the bank."

To underscore his passion and interest in poverty reduction, he reminds people of his previous jobs as dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and as ambassador to Indonesia, "where economic development was the most important issue on the agenda." Despite his well-known zeal for spreading democracy in the Middle East, he has said that the bank's role should remain focused on economic rather than political change.

As a result, some development specialists who were shocked by Wolfowitz's nomination are grudgingly acknowledging that he would bring an intellectual depth to the job that could serve the bank well. And his links to the White House, many speculate, could translate into powerful backing for important antipoverty initiatives.

Within the bank staff, although there is widespread trepidation that Wolfowitz will replace many top managers, his assurances have at least helped to defuse suspicions that he intends to dismantle the institution.

The charm offensive is necessary even though the United States traditionally gets to choose the World Bank president, as part of a gentlemen's agreement in which Europe gets to choose the managing director of the IMF (news - web sites). The World Bank board, which has always operated by consensus, could reject Wolfowitz's candidacy; that is what happened in 2000 to a European nominee for the IMF job who failed to win support from Washington and other key capitals.

Wolfowitz has been scoring points by harking back to his experience in Indonesia. As ambassador in the late 1980s, he said in a statement issued last week, "I saw first-hand what the World Bank could accomplish" in helping to raise Indonesians' living standards. But as a close observer in the late 1990s, when the economy collapsed amid rot in the banking system and cronyism in the presidential palace, "I also saw first-hand the harm that corruption and weak institutions can inflict to defeat development and poverty reduction."

Such comments strike a chord among development experts who have grown increasingly disillusioned with the results in countries that followed the old World Bank advice to balance their budgets, open their markets and privatize their industries yet still failed to make much headway in banishing poverty.

Jessica Einhorn, who succeeded Wolfowitz as dean at Johns Hopkins-SAIS and was a top World Bank official before that, said: "If there is one guy who understands how important strong institutions are, and would have first-hand appreciation for how difficult it is to get them in place, that's Paul Wolfowitz."

With Wolfowitz at the bank's helm, "it could be that there will be a healthy new emphasis on the centrality of political institutions to the development process," agreed Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development. "That is where the field is, where the new consensus is, without question."

But assuming he gets the board's approval, even then he "starts with handicaps," Birdsall said, because suspicions will linger about the administration's intentions in choosing him, and the board exercises heavy influence over major bank decisions. So Wolfowitz's campaign will have to continue for a while, Birdsall predicted. "It will be a lot of listening, and consulting, and allaying peoples' concerns," she said."

Eli Lake Wrote for "The Forward"

Succeeding: " Eli Lake '94
Journalist travels to the front lines of the
rhetoric and reality of U.S. foreign policy

As the State Department correspondent for United Press International, Eli Lake ’94 has a front-row seat for both the rhetoric and the real-life application of American foreign policy. At daily press briefings, Lake and the other members of the press corps pose probing, on-the-record questions to a State Department spokesperson—usually Richard Boucher. “The object,” says Lake “is to detect very minor gradations in rhetoric from the most powerful government in the world.” Lake also telephones his sources “in the various nooks and crannies of American national security institutions” to further inform his news stories. The gist, he says, is generally “the State Department’s take on something that’s happening in the world, whether it’s a flood or a coup or the breakdown or breakthrough in negotiations in a regional conflict.”

Rhetoric meets reality when Lake visits some of the world’s diplomatic hotspots. Often traveling with the Secretary of State, Lake has been to places few Americans ever go, including North Korea, Kosovo, and Sudan. He was with Colin Powell on his mid-April trip to the Middle East, where the Secretary of State was unsuccessful at jump-starting peace negotiations. Powell may have returned empty handed, but Lake came back with a story called “Policing Terror, Palestinian Style,” which was the result of an interview with the chief of the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence service, and which was published in The Weekly Standard. Lake, who likes to complement his news writing with more in-depth freelance features, says the article examines Palestinian perspectives “on the prospects for a cease-fire and, more importantly, the prospects for security cooperation given that the Israelis have destroyed a lot of the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority.”

Lake says he always gains tremendous insight from his travels. On one of his most memorable trips, Lake hitched a ride on a United Nations relief program’s single-engine Cessna to the southern part of Sudan for an interview with John Garang, the rebel leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. At the base camp, which was guarded by camouflaged soldiers with machine guns, Lake met Garang for what he expected to be an intense conversation about Sudan’s internal conflict. Says Lake, “He’s talking about the civil war, and then he mentions, ‘I went to Grinnell College and a liberal arts education is one of the best things that ever happened to me.’” Lake, who has a flair for the ironic, quips, “Tell that to [Professor of Philosophy] Dan Lloyd!”

A philosophy major, Lake knows his Trinity education has served him well as a journalist. He names Jerry Watts, Cheryl Greenberg, Maurice Wade, Howard DeLong, Adrienne Fulco, and Jack Chatfield as professors who “gave me a lot of personal attention and encouraged me to think critically about the texts we were reading.”

It was ideal preparation for the kind of analytical processing of information he does now. Lake, who wrote for the Tripod at Trinity, started his journalism career writing for various Washington, D.C., newsletters, covering the Environmental Protection Agency and the Education Department before landing a job as the Washington correspondent for The Forward, the oldest and largest Jewish newspaper in the country. From there, he made the leap to UPI. He hopes to someday write for The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.

Lake says that being a journalist, especially for a newswire, requires learning about things very quickly without getting “spun by someone who has an interest in whatever you’re writing about.” He says, “The challenge is to avoid the spin of what any particular side wants you to write about something and to try to write about it objectively.”"