Remember the curious and intriguing interconnections between One Jerusalem, a Likud/settler group chaired by Natan Sharansky, and two U.S-led “NGOs” with overlapping or interchangeable directorates — the “Policy Forum on International Security Affairs (PF)” and the newly minted “Case for Freedom” — that we discovered in the participants list of the “Prague Democracy and Security” conference where George W. Bush appeared despite the concerns of his State Department last June? I wrote about the conference twice, once describing it as a “Neo-Conservative International” and a second time focusing on those very same connections under the title, “More on that Meeting in Prague.”
Well, there are some new developments that raise fresh questions about these groups, their provenance, and interrelationships. At the time of the conference, the websites of both the Policy Forum (PF) and the Case for Freedom (CCF) were “under construction,” but now they’re up (click on their names and you’ll see them), although the PF site seems somewhat comatose. The second piece of news is that the Pentagon’s policy office — formerly run by Doug Feith (a co-founder with Sharansky of One Jerusalem) and currently directed by one of the remaining neo-cons at the Pentagon, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman — awarded a $79,416 no-bid contract to the Policy Forum and its director, Devon Gaffney Cross (yes, that’s Frank Gaffney’s sister) last September.
As I pointed out last June, Cross, who remains a member of the the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board (DPB), a voluntary group that is supposed to give policy advice (presumably untainted by any conflicts of interest) to the secretary of defense, has been arranging exclusive, off-the-record get-togethers between senior Pentagon officials and prominent neo-conservatives and fellow-travelers at even more exclusive venues in London and Paris. Among her guests have been Edelman himself; former Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman; ret. Gen. (and Surge architect) Jack Keane; neo-con heavyweights James Woolsey and Michael Barone; and even sometime-neo-con/sometime-realist Henry Kissinger. (Like Cross, Keane and Kissinger also serve on the DPB.) But, because their sessions are off the record, we don’t know who else has been featured at these tetes-a-tete. Here are the group’s purpose and performance as laid out on the PF website:
“Our aim is to create an open channel of dialogue between those who create the international news and those who report it, in an effort to articulate more clearly and accurately the animating forces behind American foreign policy.
The response to our efforts, among the media, has been both prompt and enthusiastic â€“ [sic] editors of The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The London Times, The Economist, The Sun and The Spectator have all participated in our discussions.”
Leading columnists and members of editorial boards have at various times been included, and visiting participants have written to us emphasizing how important our gatherings have been in elevating the level of discourse in the British press about American politics and diplomacy.”
Until now, I had the impression that these little chats were privately funded; as a former senior of several far-right foundations, a former president of the Donor’s Forum on International Affairs, and the spouse of New York Jets president Jay Cross, Devon Cross is clearly a woman of means who would presumably not have to resort to the public treasury to spread the word to elite journalists about Washington’s good intentions in the Middle East. But here are the relevant excerpts of the July 23, 2007 “presolicitation notice” put out by the Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) Acquisition and Procurement Office of the Pentagon: