Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Columbia University Gave Brent Scowcroft Award In 2005

“Brent Scowcroft, who is among Columbia’s most eminent alumni, was the obvious choice this year for the Andrew Wellington Cordier Award, our honor for superior and distinguished public service. Deeply loyal to his country, he spent over three decades in the military service working under three U.S. presidents. We also recognize his valuable contributions as a national leader in both the government and the private sector.”

Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs Dean Lisa Anderson in 2005

“Mr. Kissinger worked on a number of other Government advisory bodies, including a 1983 Presidential commission on strategic forces headed by Mr. Scowcroft. At the time, Mr. Scowcroft was president of Kissinger Associates, as well as a personal consultant on general arms control and military issues for the Lockheed Corporation…Mr. Scowcroft’s ties to Lockheed, a major military contractor, were not publicly known, but were disclosed in a confidential statement to the Pentagon…The commission’s final report, however, contains a number of…recommendations, including `continued development and the deployment of the Trident II (D-5) missile as rapidly as possible.’ Lockheed has long been the manager of the Trident missile program, including the D-5…Mr. Scowcroft declines to respond to written questions about the Lockheed situation or any other matters.”

The New York Times on April 30, 1989

Besides giving former Kissinger Associates Vice-Chairman Brent Scowcroft its Andrew Wellington Cordier Award in 2005 , the Columbia University Administration also gave the former board member of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s Santa Fe International subsidiary a Columbia University honorary degree at Columbia’s 2005 Commencement ceremonies. As a U.S. Air Force officer, Scowcroft first attended Columbia University in the early 1950s, where he picked up a Master’s Degree in International Relations from one of its graduate schools. While working in the planning and operations section of Air Force headquarters at the Pentagon during the Vietnam War Era in the mid-1960s, Scowcroft also was able to return to Uptown Manhattan to work on his PhD at Columbia. In 1967, Columbia gave a PhD in International Relations to U.S. Air Force officer Scowcroft without too much on-campus publicity.

In a 1991 telephone interview, Downtown asked Columbia University’s then-spokesperson Lonnie Lippsett if Scowcroft was the only U.S. military officer to be awarded a PhD by Columbia’s School of International Affairs while working at the Pentagon in the 1960s; and if U.S. military officers were attending Columbia’s School of International Affairs in the 1990s?

“In general, it is not unusual for PhD candidates to be working at other occupations. And we don’t keep records of the occupations of PhD candidates. The occupation of military officers is treated like any other occupation by Columbia,” the Columbia University spokesperson replied in 1991.

According to Lippsett, “no figures are kept” on the number of Pentagon military officers who are currently enrolled at Columbia and, even if such figures were kept, they wouldn’t be released.” Lippsett indicated in 1991 that Columbia University’s institutional policy was to still accept all applicants to its PhD programs who met its academic qualifications and were willing to pay tuition—even if an applicant was involved at the highest level in Pentagon war-making decisions, like Scowcroft was in the 1960s. Columbia’s 1991 institutional policy was apparently not to make any value-judgments which would keep U.S. military officers in civilian disguise off its Uptown Manhattan campus.

After moving into his White House National Security Advisor office in 1989, Scowcroft apparently maintained contact with Henry Kissinger. Like Bush I’s White House Chief of Staff John Sununu, Scowcroft was “authorized to use military planes on non-government business,” according to the April 24, 1991 issue of the New York Times. In addition to making “classified trips that were not listed”, Scowcroft also used U.S. government planes to fly “about 45 times” between January 1990 and April 23, 1991, according to the Times. And one of these U.S. government plane trips was used by Scowcroft for “an official trip to New York for a dinner at which the host was Henry A. Kissinger,” according to the Times.

Scowcroft’s former business partner, Kissinger, was not too pleased when some Times reporters decided to write an investigative article about Kissinger Associates’ clients and their past links to then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who was the Kissinger Associates president before he moved into this State Department office in 1989. On April 14, 1989, the Wall Street Journal reported that Kissinger was “annoyed” at the Times for its “investigation of Kissinger Associates’ clients” and was “threatening a lawsuit against the paper for harassing clients.”

The results of this Times investigation of Kissinger Associates were published on April 30, 1989, in an article entitled “Kissinger And Friends And Revolving Doors” by Jeff Gerth and Sarah Bartlett. The article noted that, initially, Scowcroft “told the White House he was merely a consultant to Kissinger Inc.” and only “later amended his financial disclosure statement to reflect his position as vice-chairman.”

According to the Times, Scowcroft also “told the White House he had to disclose only the name of Kissinger Associates, not the specific clients he worked with, because he was merely a consultant to the firm.” Scowcroft only amended the financial disclosure statement he had filed on Feb. 21, 1989 (to indicate that he was actually the Kissinger Associates vice-chairman) on March 17, 1989, “one day after a reporter aasked him why he had not reported” his true Kissinger Associates post on his original financial disclosure form.

Unlike Bush I’s cabinet appointments, the Scowcroft appointment to the National Security Advisor slot did not have to be confirmed by Congress, so no confirmation hearings were held in 1989 to investigate the reasons why Scowcroft apparently had felt the need to conceal both his early 1980s employment by Lockheed and his actual position at Kissinger Associates.

On his public disclosure form, according to the Times, Scowcroft indicated that he would “disqualify himself from specific matters involving companies he holds stock in and former clients such as Kissinger Associates, but not from matters involving the firm’s clients.” The Times also reported in 1989 that “among those willing to pay $200,000 or more to be clients of Kissinger Associates are ITT, American Express, Anheuser-Busch, Coca Cola, H.J. Heinz, Fiat-Volvo, LM Ericsson, Daewoo and Midland Bank.” As Downtown revealed in its March 27, 1991 issue (“ A Look At Henry Kissinger’s Kuwaiti Connection”), the government of Kuwait Inc. owned 10.5 percent of the stock of Kissinger Associates’ Midland Bank client in 1990 and then-Midland Bank Director Cunningham was also then a director of Kissinger Associates.

The “Kissinger And Friends And Revolving Doors” article also reported in April 1989 that “Mr. Scowcroft belatedly disclosed that he held stock in Kissinger Associates and, according to Mr. Kissinger and public documents, he arranged” in March 1989 “to have Mr. Kissinger buy it back for nine times its estimated worth” and that Scowcroft’s Kissinger Associates salary exceeded $293,000 per year in the 1980s. According to the April 30, 1989 Times article, “a number of current and former government officials, none of whom would allow themselves to be identified, have questions about potential conflicts of interests involving Kissinger Associates.”

In his 1991 book, The Commanders, Bob Woodward wrote that for Columbia University Honorary Degree Recipient Brent Scowcroft in the early 1990s. “War was an instrument of foreign policy, pure and simple.” According to Woodward, prior to the start of the Pentagon’s high-technology bombing blitz of Iraq in January 1991, then-National Security Advisor Scowcroft “was substantially more willing to go to war than” then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell.

After Saddam Hussein marched some of his troops into Kuwait in 1990, the former director of the Kuwaiti-owned Santa Fe International and former Kissinger Associates vice-chairman, Scowcroft, “returned to the White House…and informed Bush,” according to The Commanders. Scowcroft then “called an emergency meeting of the deputies committee by securing video links and chaired it himself from the Situation Room.”

At the emergency meeting, according to The Commanders, Scowcroft “pressed for more action,” proposed that a squadron of 24 Air Force F-15 fighters be offered to Saudi Arabia immediately and “called a National Security Council [NSC] meeting for first thing in the morning.” He then went to sleep in his White House office at 4 a.m., awoke 45 minutes later and “by 5 a.m. was at Bush I’s bedroom door” with an executive order to be signed that freezed Kuwait Inc.’s foreign assets. This executive order insured that little of the Al-Sabah family’s foreign wealth would end up in the hands of the Iraqi government while Kuwait was occupied.

After the initial White House National Security Council meeting of Thursday, Aug. 2, 1990 was held, according to Woodward, “Scowcroft was alarmed” because no immediate military response was agreed upon. A second NSC meeting was held in the White House the following morning, on Friday, Aug. 3. At the second NSC meeting, according to Woodward, the following happened:

“Scowcroft stated that there had to be two tracks. First, he believed the United States had to be willing to use force. Second, he said that Saddam had to be toppled. That had to be done covertly through the CIA, and be unclear to the world.”

Responding immediately to the policy recommendation of the nonelected, nonconfirmed former Kissinger Associates vice-chairman, “Bush I ordered the CIA to begin planning for a covert operation that would destabilize the regime and, he hoped, remove Saddam from power,” according to The Commanders.

After Scowcroft’s proposal to respond to the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait by sending a few hundred thousand troops to Saudi Arabia had been implemented in August and September of 1990, the Emir of Kuwait visited Bush I in the Oval Office of the White House on Friday, Sept. 28, 1990. According to Woodward, “Scowcroft joined them for the hour-long meeting” and “though the Emir did not directly ask for military intervention to liberate his country Scowcroft could see that that was his subliminal message.”

According to The Commanders, by Fall 1990 “Scowcroft had become the First Companion and all-purpose playmate to the President on golf, fishing and weekend outings” and by early October 1990 “Scowcroft told Cheney that Bush [I] wanted a briefing right away on what an offensive against Saddam’s forces in Kuwait might look like.”

On Oct. 11, 1990, the Pentagon plans to launch a military offensive against Iraq were given to Bush I. And, at a 3:30 afternoon meeting on Oct. 29, 1990, Bush I met with Baker, Cheney, Scowcroft and Powell in the White House Situation Room were, according to Woodward, “Bush and Scowcroft seemed primed to go ahead with the development of the offensive option.”

The Commanders also reported that by Dec. 17, 1990 Scowcroft was eager to begin the bombing blitz of Iraq, despite all the pre-January 16, 1991 Bush I Administration talk of how eager it was to have its Secretary of State Baker talk face-to-face with the Iraqi foreign minister in order to avert Gulf War I:

“It was obvious to [Congressional Representative] Aspin that Scowcroft had lost his patience with diplomacy…Saddam was jerking everyone around. There was no reason to deal with him, Scowcroft said. War would take less time…Scowcroft said. Hew was now convinced that war would be a two-to-three week solution…”

That same week in December 1990, Scowcroft told the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar, that “Basically the President had made up his mind” and that the diplomatic efforts to avoid war undertaken by the Bush [I] Administration were `all exercises.’”

Nearly a month later, on Jan. 16, 1991, the militaristic U.S. Establishment began an endless war against the people of Iraq that is still going on nearly 17 years later; and, during Gulf War I, between 100,000 and 300,000 Iraqis were killed by the U.S. war machine. In addition, 150 U.S. troops lost their lives during Gulf War I, before the Bush I Administration finally ordered an end to its early 1991 high-technology bombing blitz of Iraq.

(Downtown 9/25/91)

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