Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Trusting Our Political System to Facebook and the Atlantic Council

With this recent announcement from Facebook:

...it is fascinating to see that Facebook is allegedly taking moves to prevent a repetition of the 2016 elections when the 2018 mid-term and 2020 U.S. presidential elections roll around, taking actions that will ensure that their preferred political party wins.  That said, most people are completely unaware of the Atlantic Council and, as such, I want to take a bit of a look at this think tank which, according to Facebook "has a stellar reputation looking at innovative solutions to hard problems."

The Atlantic Council has the following mantra:

"The Atlantic Council promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the Atlantic Community's central role in meeting global challenges. The Council provides an essential forum for navigating the dramatic economic and political changes defining the twenty-first century by informing and galvanizing its uniquely influential network of global leaders. Through the papers we write, the ideas we generate, and the communities we build, the Council shapes policy choices and strategies to create a more secure and prosperous world."

Here's a very short video which provides a bit of background on this "nonpartisan group of foreign policy change-makers":

The Atlantic Council was formed in 1961 by former U.S. Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Christian Herter and other "distinguished Americans" who recommended the consolidation of U.S. citizen's groups that supported the Atlantic Alliance  (i.e. NATO).  Throughout the turbulent 1960s, the Council produced reports on the state of public opinion towards Alliance member nations and aimed to educate the public about the need for engagement in international affairs through television commercials starring Bob Hope.  Interestingly, during the mid-1970s, the New York Times and Washington Post revealed that a part-time consultant at the Atlantic Council, James F. Sattler, was a secret agent of the East German government.

Here is a list of current Atlantic Council Executives and Board of Directors:

You might recognize a few names among the board members; General Wesley Clarke, Henry Kissinger, David Petraeus and Dov Zakheim.  There is also a close link to Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State in the Bill Clinton administration, who recently received the Atlantic Council's 2018 Freedom Award and who co-chaired the group's Middle East Strategy Task Force with Stephen Hadley, former White House foreign policy advisor to the Bush II Administration and Deputy National Security Advisor to Condoleezza Rice.

While it is interesting to see the how the group consists of many Washington insiders (i.e. the Deep State), what is most interesting about the group can be found when looking through their financial supporters as listed in their most recent annual report which you can find here.  Let's now look at the group's "Honor Roll of Contributors" which it terms "Community of Influence":

Let's look more closely at the businesses and governments/government affiliates represented at the Atlantic Council through a financial investment in the group.  First let's break down the donor levels by the size of their contributions:

$1,000,000 plus - Group (1)
$500,000 to $999,000 - Group (2)
$250,000 to $499,999 - Group (3)
$100,000 to $249,000 - Group (4)
$50,000 to $99,000 - Group (5)
$25,000 to $49,000 - Group (6)

Here are some of the major contributors separated into type followed by their individual contribution level in brackets:

Governments and Affiliates:

United Arab Emirates (1)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office UK (2)
United States Department of State (2)
Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Lithuania (4)
Royal Norwegian Minstry of Defense (4)
Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (4)
Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (4)
United States Air Force Academy (4)
Embassy of Japan in the United States of America (5)
United States Air Force (5)
US Mission to NATO (5)
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia (6)
Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany (6)
Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Investment Support (6)
United States Army (6)
United States Marine Corps (6)
United States Navy (6)
US Army War College (6)


General Atomics (3)
United Technologies Corporation (3)
Lockheed Martin (4)
Raytheon (4)
Textron (5)
The Boeing Company (5)
Huntington Ingalls Industries (6)
Northrop Grumman Corporation (6)

Big Oil/Energy

Crescent Petroleum (2)
Limak Energy (2)
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (3)
Chevron (3)
BP America (4)
Noble Energy (5)
BP Petrolleri A.S. (6)
Exxon Mobil Corporation (6)
Kuwait Petroleum Company (6)
Royal Dutch Shell plc (6)
Statoil ASA (6)


Google (4)
Microsoft Corporation (5)

Big Banks/Financial/Insurance

HSBC Holdings plc (3)
Arab Bank (4)
Cigna Corporation (5)
Insurance Information Institute (5)
JPMorgan Chase & Co (5)
MetLife Inc. (6)
Morgan Stanley (6)

While I have likely omitted a few of the Atlantic Council's largest donors, you can clearly see the close link between the group, the defense industry, the energy industry and the banking industry, a group of entities that are part of what most people would consider to be the Deep State, the group of private sector and former government actors that have an excessively powerful influence on public policy.  It is this group of people that we are trusting to ensure that Facebook does not inadvertently influence the next election in the United States.  

Given the recent announcement of the agreement between Facebook and the Atlantic Council, I think that we can pretty much ensure that our futures will be driven by a group of non-elected actors, just as it has in the past, and that the next election will represent the will of the Deep State, particularly since they dropped the ball in 2016 when their preferred candidate for the Oval Office lost to a wild card candidate.