Emergency Committee Based at Old Committee for the Liberation of Iraq

With Jim Lobe

Some things are just too good to be true.

It seems that the new Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) is based out of the same office as the old Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI), suggesting that, Yes, Virginia, the same people who led the march to war in Iraq are behind the new Emergency Committee, which, in its very brief existence to date, has attracted a lot of mostly critical attention in the blogosphere.

The evidence lies in a a letter from ECI’s executive director (PDF), Noah Pollak, to Comcast regarding the attack ad the group has been running in Pennsylvania. The letterhead bears the following address: “918 Pennsylvania Ave., SE · Washington, D.C. 20003.”

That address happens to be the same as that of Orion Strategies, a public-relations consultancy owned and operated by renowned GOP lobbyist Randy Scheunemann, who, in addition to serving as president of the CLI, has been retained since the 2008 elections as Sarah Palin’s personal — and Bill Kristol-approved — foreign-policy trainer.

(The same Pennsylvania Ave. address is listed for the CLI.)

Now, this may just be an amazing coincidence, and Scheunemann may have no ties whatsoever with the Emergency Committee, although, as an old chum of Kristol’s at the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and co-signer along with Gary Bauer, of a number of PNAC letters, that seems somewhat unlikely. So, does Orion have the ECI account?

The CLI, which was organized in large part by the White House, was also closely tied to Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress (INC) as Jim found back in 2003 shortly after the invasion. On April 8 of that year, he happened to type in the CLI website (http://liberationiraq.org/), and, to his great surprise, got the INC website instead. He immediately printed out what appeared on his screen, a scanned copy of which you can see here. (Note the address on the bottom and the destination at the top.) He then phoned Scheunemann at Orion‘s offices. He mumbled something about how both the CLI and the INC used the same server in London. But it seems that the two sites were being run by the same entity or, worse, that the INC, which, perhaps not coincidentally, was based in London, used U.S. taxpayer money to run CLI’s website, as well as its own. Like other neo-cons, Scheunemann, who no doubt was handsomely paid by the INC, appears to have been duped by Chalabi whose loyalty to the United States — as opposed to, say, Iran — is now very much in doubt.

Like the new ECI, the CLI appears to have been the proto-typical astro-turf group or letterhead organization (LHO). In an interview with Deborah Solomon published by the New York Times Sunday Magazine last week, the chairman of CLI‘s advisory board, former Secretary of State George Shultz, had this to about his role and involvement:

Shultz: There was a group — there was a committee that didn’t really exist, was a name, and it supported the war.

Solomon: What do you mean it didn’t exist?

Shultz: It didn’t exist in the sense that it never met, and I don’t even know who the members of it were.

That’s often how neo-cons work.

Of course, the invasion of Iraq, so ardently championed by the CLI, ultimately resulted in a serious deterioration in U.S. influence throughout the Middle East to the benefit of both Syria and Iran, not to mention Hezbollah and Hamas, and, conversely, to the detriment of Israel’s security. That some of the same geostrategic geniuses are now behind the creation of the Emergency Committee for Israel should give pause to anyone who actually cares about that nation’s future.


Matt Duss reminds us that the Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb is another link between the ECI and Scheunemann.  Politico’s Ben Smith referred to Goldfarb as an “adviser” to the ECIBack in January, Goldfarb joined Orion as a senior vice president of communications.

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Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. It hasn’t been secret for a long time that we have a small cabal of US zionist operating in and minipulating the US for their vision of Israel and a group of US Neocons and other assorted special interest who never met a war they didn’t like.

    We all talk about it, write about it and comment on it.

    What do we have to do to put an end to them? Send Greenpeace to take over the media networks and broadcast the truth to the slumbering public?
    Suicide the cabal? Pray for an earthquake to swallow congress?

  2. Didn’t Walt and Mearsheimer figure most of this out?

  3. Are you kidding? We were scarred from the truth of our depravity after Vietnam for about 4 years. Jimmy’s responsible gov’t ain’t near as appealing as Bonzo’s co-star’s allusions to cities on the hill. 4 years till nationalism and exceptionalism again became the currency of the day.

    I’m telling you Carter was the best Pres we’ve had since Ike. The establishment hated both men, only difference, you couldn’t lampoon a 5 star general. And, those stars were earned in real wars, in a different era.

  4. Scott’s right. It was Reagan that initiated the huge federal deficits to fund the Pentagon.400 lobbyist’s in D.C. in1980, 45,000 today all creating and chasing the Treasury bond proceeds used to fiance the debt. The Federal debt was created for the benefit of the CORPORATE WELFARE KINGS and it affords the WELFARE KINGS world wide protection of their investments by the Pentagon which is the enforcer of the NSA/NSC’s mission statements which is to control and secure the resources of the world for the CORPORATISTS many of which pay no U.S. taxes, EXXON $45,000,000,000 profits no U.S. taxes and protected by the Pentagon, gratis.

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