Policy Forum Dead, Too?

Another hard-line neo-conservative group — and one that received a nearly $80,000 grant from the Pentagon just last September — may also have died. In fact, its effective demise may actually have preceded the the grant’s approval by the office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Eric Edelman.

I’m referring to the Policy Forum on International Security Affairs (aka the Policy Forum on International Security Issues) headed by Devon Gaffney Cross, the sister of Frank Gaffney, the ultra-hawkish president of the Center for Security Policy, and a member of the Defense Policy Board since 2001. She launched the organization in London shortly after 9/11 to help improve British and European public opinion about the Bush administration’s “global war on terror” by hosting off-the-record meetings at exclusive London clubs and posh Parisian restaurants between selected reporters from influential publications and senior U.S. defense officials and prominent neo-cons outside the administration. I have posted on the Policy Forum’s activities and relationships with other groups at last year’s Prague Democracy and Security Conference here and here, and its funding by Edelman’s office here.

Unlike PNAC’s, the Policy Forum’s website (www.policyforumuk.com) is still visible on the Internet, although it hasn’t been updated for about nine months now, despite its self-described mission not only to “create an open channel of dialogue between those who create the international news and those who report it,” but also “to expand our original mission beyond the narrow confines of the journalistic community, and to engage with the wider European community [by] reaching out to the active, curious and engaged public…”

It turns out that, according to the ICC Directory of UK Companies, the Policy Forum, which was officially incorporated in the UK on December 18, 2003, initiated its dissolution on March 11, 2007, ten days after its “managing director,” German real estate magnate Zacharias Gertler, resigned his position. It filed its first dissolution on November 12, 2007 — just two months after it was awarded the non-competitive contract by Edelman’s office ”for technical support and consulting services for public liaison and media outreach services in support of the diplomacy mission including addressing and informing European and Middle Eastern audiences on the challenges facing U.S. National Security policies” — and its final dissolution on March 25 this year. This raises an obvious question: why did the Pentagon award a non-competitive contract to an entity that was in the process of dissolving itself?

Now, there is evidence that the Policy Forum is also incorporated in the State of New York, where Cross, whose husband is president of the New York Jets organization, has her primary residence. According to taxexemptworld.com, an organization known as “Policy Forum on International Security (c/o Devon Cross)” — described as a “charitable organization” involved in “housing development, construction, and management” — gained tax-exempt status in New York in September, 2006. So it may be that the Pentagon contracted with the New York-based Policy Forum and not the London-based Policy Forum, but, given the small size of the contract, we would have to file an FOIA request to find out.

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Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.

One Comment

  1. Jim, isn’t it a bit sarcastic to call Gertler a German, considering the fact, that he seems to have a survivors background?

    (editors note: Gertler is a German citizen.)

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