Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Neocons behind 'Policy Exchange'

The Guardian reports that "a rightwing thinktank which claimed to have uncovered extremist literature on sale at dozens of British mosques was last night accused of basing a report on fabricated evidence."

The think tank in question is Policy Exchange. It's an interesting little outfit. Its former Chief Director was the pro-war hawk and unsuccessful Tory candidate Nicholas Boles, a signatory to the statement of principles to the notoriously neocon Henry Jackson Society. Its current Director is a former Times journalist named Anthony Browne, a man who once wrote a hysterically alarmist piece claiming that "73 million Eastern Europeans" who suffer from "high disease rates" would pose a major public health risk to Britons.

But the real driving force behind Policy Exchange is Dean Godson, former "special assistant" to disgraced neocon fraudster Conrad Black, who this week was sentenced to six and a half years in jail. Have a read of this Spinwatch report on Godson; as I'm sure you'll agree, it makes very interesting reading.

Whether or not Policy Exhange's report was based on fabricated evidence, as Newsnight claims, one thing is sure. The think-tank very clearly has an agenda: to stir up tensions between Britain's Muslim and non-Muslim communities in order to maintain the fiction of a 'clash of civilisations' which can only be won by launching more wars and more military interventions.

UPDATE: Commenter Shaun has asked if I have any information about who funds 'Policy Exchange'. I don't, but I've been to their website where they say they accept donations from individuals. The lady in charge of this is Sian Hansen and, if like me, you'd like to ask her if she would be willing to make public, in the interests of transparency, the names of large donors to the think-tank, then she can be contacted at sian.hansen@policyexchange.org.uk
Quite rightly we have calls today for our political parties to come clean and reveal their sources of funding: the principle should surely be applied to think-tanks too.


UPDATE: Saturday. Seumas Milne blogs about the agenda of neocon think tanks such as 'Policy Exhange' and the ludicrously entitled 'Centre for Social Cohesion' here. 'Poisonous' and 'dangerous': apart from 'deceitful', it's hard to think of two other words which describe neocons so accurately, don't you agree?

8 comments:

David Lindsay said...

You write that Policy Exchange "very clearly has an agenda: to stir up tensions between Britain's Muslim and non-Muslim communities in order to maintain the fiction of a 'clash of civilisations' which can only be won by launching more wars and more military interventions."

Quite so. But, of course, such tensions are only possible if there are huge numbers of Muslims here in the first place, and are greatly exacerbated by the creation of Islamic states in Europe, as in Bosnia and putatively in Kosovo.

Shaun said...

Neil: do you know who funds Policy Exchange? It would be interesting to find out.

Anonymous said...

The debate surrounding Policy Exchange's controversial report goes far beyond a few suspicious reciepts right to the dubious intentions, malicious motives and audacious approach of a so-called research body for pushing their agenda by all means fair and foul. Rather than blaming Newsnight of sidetracking, Dean Godson should come up with verifiable proofs to establish why this and other Policy Exchange reports should be considered neutral and objective and how it is helpful for community cohesion?

Godson's underlying motives are clear from his article is The Times: "During the Cold War, organisations such as the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office would assert the superiority of the West over its totalitarian rivals. And magazines such as Encounter did hand-to-hand combat with Soviet fellow travellers. For any kind of truly moderate Islam to flourish, we need first to recapture our own self-confidence."
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article702053.ece

What Godson didn't mention is that Encounter, is an Anglo-American magazine co-founded by Irving Kristol. Not until 1967 would it be revealed that Encounter and its parent organization, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, were funded by the CIA as part of the programme of covert action that has become known as the cultural cold war. In fact there is reason to believe that Cold War methods of psychological warfare are already shaping the debate about Islam and the war on terror in Britain. Dean Godson himself may be one the most successful practitioners. Certainly, he comes from a family with long experience of what the CIA calls "covert action". http://www.spinwatch.org/content/view/4309/8/

Dean Godson has a long history with neoconservatism, starting out as assistant to John Lehman, a signatory to the Project for a New American Century and Conrad Black. Bringing the ideas of neo-conservatism to the UK, Godson has compared Britain's 'late-imperial defeatism' with America's 'self-confident liberal interventionism.'
Of all books, Dean Godson's favourite is the one by his brother Roy, Dirty Tricks or Trump Cards, Counter-Intelligence and Covert Operations, which among other thing looks at how to spread disinformation through the media.
http://timworstall.typepad.com/timworstall/2007/05/dean_godson.html

There are good reasons to be concerned about Dean Godson's role to influence public and private perceptions about Muslims in Britain. He has made no secret of his own advocacy of "political warfare." It is clear from the historical precedents that he cites, and the methodology that his brother describes, that deception and covert manipulation are an integral part of "political warfare."

Journalism influenced by this covert action approach clearly invites scepticism. There is likely to be a hidden agenda, in line with Roy Godson's injunction that: "to be effective, covert propaganda must be co-ordinated with overall policy. It serves little purpose to dabble in the trade unless there are important strategic goals to be achieved."

 There are also likely to be unverifiable claims that should be treated with caution. http://www.spinwatch.org/content/view/4309/8/

Godson has worked as chief editorial writer at The Telegraph and Special Assistant to Conrad Black. Does this indicate a tendency to be in company of those working with fake receipts?
Lastly, imagine writing a monograph on Islam in Australia: Democratic bipartisanship in action including interviews with prominent players in law enforcement and politics but without interviewing a single Muslim, and launching the monograph thousands of miles away in London with none other than Dean Godson! http://madhabirfy.blogspot.com/2007/09/middle-eastern-gerard-henderson.html

If anyone has ever wondered who would be more appropriate to talk about "community" and "cohesion" none could better disqualify himself from such a responsibility than Godson exemplifying an exact opposite of those terms.

computaa said...

David lindsay,
The fact there are tensions in N.Ireland and not with Republic of Ireland proves you wrong.
You need to read less neocons staff.

Omnitheist said...

The biggest threat is not "neocons", but isolationist, non-interventionist kooks like Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul. They think that all we need to do is build a wall around the country, mind our own business, and the world will be a better place. Sadly, nothing could be more wrong.

www.unitedworldforpeace.blogspot.com

David Lindsay said...

Computaa, Ireland is a whole other story. There really isn't much in common between people in the Irish Republic and Nationalists in the North; certainly, there has long been very, very little sympathy for the latter among the former.

Across the political spectrum, they are viewed much as people in Britain view the Unionists, as embarrassing second or third cousins of whom one does not speak in polite company.

Muslim emigration to Europe (and to America - watch that space) is being actively encouraged in order to stoke up resentments such as might be used to support repression at home and wars abroad. Islamic states are being created in Europe to that same end.

A new and compliant working class is being imported here. The English-speaking working class (black and white) is being increasingly oppressed by means of state multilingualism.

And ill feeling is being engendered by the import of goods from Asia, and thus by the export of jobs thereto, i.e., to countries where workers' rights are often minimal or non-existent.

Likewise, Hispanic emigration to the United States is is being actively encouraged in order to stoke up resentments such as might be used to support repression at home and wars abroad (beginning in Venezuela, but certainly not ending there). Hispanic statelets are starting to emerge in the US to that same end.

A new and compliant working class is being imported here. The English-speaking working class (black and white) is being increasingly oppressed by means of state bilingualism.

And ill feeling is being engendered by the import of goods both from Latin America (most lately by means of the extension of the NAFTA arrangements to Peru) and from Asia, and thus by the export of jobs thereto, i.e., to countries where workers' rights are often minimal or non-existent.

Douglas said...

anonymous should get his own blog...

Charles Moore told his side of the story in the Daily Telegraph here

And this Policy Exchange brouhaha is attracting international attention, as it was mentioned at little green footballs here

I thought of this post you wrote when I saw the little green footballs post.

Will said...

Still is SpinWatch a reliable source? The site has a conspiratorial preoccupation with the influence of Jews in public life http://spinwatchwatch.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/a-keen-interest-in-the-jews/

and it is funded by a wealth Lebanese businessman who also has something of a fixation on Jews http://spinwatchwatch.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/agri-business-fortune-behind-spinwatch/