Amid growing diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Turkey, Turkish TV station ‘A Haber’ on Saturday presented a detailed segment on ‘The American Empire and its Media’, based on an infographic tweeted out earlier this year by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and showing the surprisingly close interrelations between U.S. mainstream media and key foreign policy institutions.
— A Haber (@tvahaber) August 11, 2018
This anti-American propaganda (if that is what one calls a foreign nation daring to expose the truth about America), comes in the wake of various speeches and after Erdogan wrote a Friday New York Times op-ed cataloging his grievances and threatening to walk away from the decades-old alliance. “Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies,” he wrote. Meanwhile, while announcing the new sanctions aimed at Turkey, Trump tweeted his “analysis” of the situation: “Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”
The escalating war of words continued all weekend, when speaking at a rally in the Black Sea town of Unye, Erdogan said that “it is wrong to dare bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor,” and blasted “shame on you, shame on you. You are exchanging your strategic partner in NATO for a priest.” At the same time, Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan’s spokesman, said that the U.S. is “facing the risk of completely losing Turkey.”
And if anyone was hoping that Erdogan’s temper would have cooled one day later with just hours left before FX markets reopen, they were sorely disappointed on Sunday when in his latest public address in the town of Trabzon, Erdogan doubled down on his belligerent rhetoric against the US once again, via Bloomberg:
- ERDOGAN: WE SEE THE GAME YOU’RE PLAYING; WE DARE YOU
- ERDOGAN: THEY’RE TRYING W/ MONEY WHAT THEY COULDN’T DO IN COUP
Here one assumes that by “they” Erdogan was referring to the US, even though the Turkish’s president official line all along was that the culprit behind the “failed coup” was the exiled cleric Fethulah Gullen who has been accused by Erodgan of being behind the country’s imaginary “shadow state” for years, and which gave Erdogan a green light to crackdown on any potential opponents, leading to an unprecedented purge of people in public positions, with tens of thousands of government workers either ending up in prison or unemployed.
Erdogan then continued by calling for all Turks to convert their foreign currency holdings, i.e. mostly dollars, to liras, and warning that “economic attacks will only increase Turkey’s unity.”
Among the other notable highlights, Erdogan said that “we will say bye-bye to those who are ready to give up their strategic partnership for their relations with terror organizations” and that Turkey can “respond to those who started a trade war against the entire world and included our country in it by gravitating towards new co-operations, new alliances” i.e. China and Russia (which earlier today said it was considering dropping the US dollar altogether in oil trade), and warned that “it is foolish to think that Turkey can be thrown off by FX” although with inflation set to explode as the currency collapses, the local population may have a different view of this.
Finally, anyone wondering which way the Lira will open later today, Erdogan did his best to make the ongoing collapse accelerate, stating that “we know very well that those who say we should make an agreement with the IMF are saying we should give up on political independence“, thus eliminating the possibility of an IMF bailout which together with capital controls were the only two options Turkey had left to arrest the lira’s plunge.
As for higher interest rates, a critical requirement to at least slow down the country’s economic descent, Erdogan had some words as well:
“They are trying to do with money what they couldn’t with provocations and the coup. This is clearly called an economic war”
“Interest rates are tools of exploitation that make the rich richer and the poor poorer. As long as I’m alive, we will not fall into the interest-rate trap”
And the punchline:
- ERDOGAN SAYS READY TO RESPOND W NEW FINANCIAL TOOLS VS DOLLAR
It was not clear what those tools would be, but they certainly would not be welcome by the market.
* * *
Here is the original detail that Erdogan is now increasingly highlighting as he uses Trump as the scapegoat for his economy’s collapse.
Largely unbeknownst to the general public, executives and top journalists of almost all major US news outlets have long been members of the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Established in 1921 as a private, bipartisan organization to “awaken America to its worldwide responsibilities”, the CFR and its close to 5000 elite members have for decades shaped U.S. foreign policy and public discourse about it. As a well-known Council member once explained, the goal has indeed been to establish a global Empire, albeit a “benevolent” one.
Based on official membership rosters, the following illustration for the first time depicts the extensive media network of the CFR and its two main international affiliate organizations: the Bilderberg Group(covering mainly the U.S. and Europe) and the Trilateral Commission (covering North America, Europe and East Asia), both established by Council leaders to foster elite cooperation at the international level.
In a column entitled “Ruling Class Journalists”, former Washington Post senior editor and ombudsman Richard Harwood once described the Council and its members approvingly as “the nearest thing we have to a ruling establishment in the United States”.
“The membership of these journalists in the Council, however they may think of themselves, is an acknowledgment of their active and important role in public affairs and of their ascension into the American ruling class. They do not merely analyze and interpret foreign policy for the United States; they help make it.
They are part of that establishment whether they like it or not, sharing most of its values and world views.”
However, media personalities constitute only about five percent of the overall CFR network. As the following illustration shows, key members of the private Council on Foreign Relations have included:
- several U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents of both parties;
- almost all Secretaries of State, Defense, and the Treasury;
- many high-ranking commanders of the U.S. military and NATO;
- almost all National Security Advisors, CIA Directors, Ambassadors to the U.N., Chairs of the Federal Reserve, Presidents of the World Bank, and Directors of the National Economic Council;
- some of the most influential Members of Congress (notably in foreign & security policy matters);
- many top jounalists, media executives, and entertainment industry directors;
- many prominent academics, especially in key fields such as Economics, International Relations, Political Science, History, and Journalism;
- many top executives of Wall Street, policy think tanks, universities, and NGOs;
- as well as the key members of both the 9/11 Commission and the Warren Commission (JFK)
Eminent economist and Kennedy supporter, John K. Galbraith, confirmed the Council’s influence: “Those of us who had worked for the Kennedy election were tolerated in the government for that reason and had a say, but foreign policy was still with the Council on Foreign Relations people.”
And no less than John J. McCloy, the longtime chairman of the Council and advisor to nine U.S. presidents, told the New York Times about his time in Washington: “Whenever we needed a man we thumbed through the roll of the Council members and put through a call to New York.”
German news magazine Der Spiegel once described the CFR as the “most influential private institution of the United States and the Western world“ and a “politburo of capitalism”. Both the Roman-inspired logo of the Council (top right in the illustration above) as well as its slogan (ubique – omnipresent) appear to emphasize that ambition.
In his famous article about “The American Establishment”, political columnist Richard H. Rovere noted:
“The directors of the CFR make up a sort of Presidium for that part of the Establishment that guides our destiny as a nation.
[I]t rarely fails to get one of its members, or at least one of its allies, into the White House. In fact, it generally is able to see to it that both nominees are men acceptable to it.”
Until recently, this assessment had indeed been justified. Thus, in 1993 former CFR director George H.W. Bush was followed by CFR member Bill Clinton, who in turn was followed by CFR “family member” George W. Bush. In 2008, CFR member John McCain lost against CFR candidate of choice, Barack Obama, who received the names of his entire Cabinet already one month prior to his election by CFR Senior Fellow (and Citigroup banker) Michael Froman. Froman later negotiated the TTP and TTIP free trade agreements, before returning to the CFR as a Distinguished Fellow.
It was not until the 2016 election that the Council couldn’t, apparently, prevail. At any rate, not yet.