British American Project

From Powerbase
(Redirected from BAP)
Jump to: navigation, search

The British American Project for the Successor Generation, to give it its original, and now quietly forgotten, title, is an elite corporate/political talking and networking organisation. Its aims are to ensure that the left and liberal intelligentsia are not hostile to US foreign policy interests. It was founded in 1985.

In a profile of the British American Project in The New Statesman, Duncan Parrish writes:

Each year the project invites 24 American and 24 British delegates to take part in four days of dinners, parties and discussions (ranging from the nature of the "special relationship" to security and economic issues). Delegates enjoy comparative luxury (the class of '98 stayed at the $285-a-night Omni Royal Crescent in New Orleans). The aim, to quote the report of the 1985 conference, is "to create, at a time of growing international strains and stresses, a closer rapport between Britain and the United States among people likely to become influential decision-makers during the next two decades". Delegates are nominated by existing fellows; once they have come through the process of selection (in the UK, this is based on competitive debating sessions with other nominees), they have their travel and other expenses paid to the more or less exotic locations of the conference. Last year New Orleans, this year ... Harrogate ...
The project was first suggested in 1982 by Nick Butler, a Labour Party insider of the old right and a research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). Along with many others in the US and Britain who viewed the special relationship favourably, he had become concerned about the growing tide of anti-American sentiment, particularly within his own party. This was the time of Greenham Common, CND and the battles over US deployment of cruise missiles in Europe. Vietnam and Watergate were fresh in everyone's memory.
Butler's response was to propose a series of conferences, similar in format to the annual get-together of the Anglo-German elite at Konigswinter, developing personal relationships between the participants and broadening understanding. This rapidly gained backing from Chatham House, then from other establishment bodies, such as the Royal United Services Institute and the US embassy in London. But at this stage there seemed little prospect of funding.
It was Sir Charles Villiers, the former chairman of British Steel, who overcame this obstacle by roping in two American anglophile friends of his, Lew van Dusen and Isadore Scott, who were able to secure $460,000 through the Pew Charitable Trusts, the second biggest grant-making body in the US.[1]

According to an article in Scotland on Sunday:

In 1997 it was reported that the BAP would seek charitable status in the UK, allowing tax relief for the major corporate sponsors of the network. Then Julia Hobsbawm claimed charity status was justified 'because the project pays for the 48 delegates, 24 from each country, to attend the conference, at a cost of approximately £20,000 for the British delegates as part of a total administration cost of £150,000.
Corporate sponsors such as British Aerospace and BP underwrite the £150,000 cost of the long weekend. Camelot, the organiser of the National Lottery, has chipped in with £10,000 as part of a company donation programme designed "to help young people achieve their potential."[2]


History and role

It is important to note that those within BAP are keen to play down the project's origins in the cold war. The initial drive of initiatives such as BAP were avowedly anti-left, anti-CND and emerged from very specific high level and far-reaching projects: Eugene V. Rostow's The Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) is a hawkish gathering of ideologues first founded in 1950 then re-formed in 1976 (when Rostow went to the right of Nixon) pushed for larger defense budgets and arms buildups, to counter the Soviet Union, now terrorism and internal dissent. The CPD had a stranglehold on Reagan's defence and foreign policy in a similar way to the neoconservatives' ideological grip on George W. Bush's. Indeed there are many continuities given that the CPD Members in 2004 include associates of the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Boeing Company.

In the early 80s a leaked memo to the Washington Post outlined a revivied COINTELPRO in the US and that:

'Rostow was equally concerned about the growing unilateralist movement and so helped initiate a similar propaganda exercise in Britain, aimed at neutralising the efforts of CND. It would take three forms: mobilising public opinion, working within the Churches, and a 'dirty tricks' operation against the peace groups.'

A project was then organised through the CIA and the US Information Agency (USIA) to organise (through private organisations) a propaganda campaign in Europe. The Rand Corporation, linked to the government and the CIA, 'sponsored a week's study on 'the Successor Generation' and its implications for Nato.

The "Successor Generation" was initially another name for anti-Americanism in Europe.' In Lobster 3 Stephen Dorril notes the appearance of Peter Dailey here, who was later an initiator of BAP, and also of the creation in March 1982 of the British Coalition For Peace Through Security (CPS), based on its American counterpart (CPS-US), this unleashed US propaganda techniques into Britain and a growing alliance between old Cold War warriors, ideologues like Rostow and Norman Podhoretz (the latter editor of the 'neo-conservative' Commentary), hardline dissenters in the intelligence community and the grass roots New Right. By 1984 The New York Times obtained leaks which showed arrangements 'for President Reagan to meet a group of businessmen he had put together under the banner 'Project Democracy', a propaganda effort to 'support democratic institutions abroad'. They were to contribute $300,000, and the group included Sir James Goldsmith, Rupert Murdoch and a representative of Axel Springer � all international publishers.'

A meeting on the project took place on March 21st 1983. Among those present were: Joachim Maitre ('Axel Springer's man'), Goldsmith, George Gallup (the pollster), Peter H. Dailey, the US Ambassador to Ireland and John W. Kluge, Chairman and President of Metromedia lnc.

Reagan told them that: 'A special concern will be the successor generations, as these younger people are the ones who will have to work together in the future on defense and security issues.'' In some respects this shows that an inclusive approach to 'the left' was also running parallel to a range of methods and projects which also extended much wider than anti-communism to mean the left, socialists, radicals and sometimes anyone who opposed those in power. Reagan's use of 'Project Democracy' is also significant as this was the term for a vast array of revived cold war operations, mostly targeted against south and central America but including funding groups and projects, which were organised by the NSC.

Influencing New Labour

The BAP newsletter just after Labour's 1997 general election victory was headlined, "Big Swing to BAP". It was believed that this would help foster a greater reciprocity of American interests in Whitehall.[3]

The confidence of the BAP statement in their newsletter was related to its self-proclaimed declaration of purpose and the high membership of subsequent Labour MPs within its ranks. David Willetts, the then Shadow home secretary, explained BAP's intent to "help reinforce Anglo-American links, especially if some members already do or will occupy positions of influence". [4]

The extent to which members of the BAP are present in the upper stratus of desicion makers in the United Kingdom can not be exaggerated. On New Labour's election victory in 1997, no less than four fellows of the association, and one from the advisory board, were promoted to ministerial posts [5]. The names of these people, who were to help realise Tony Blair's modernising views, included: George Robertson, Chris Smith and Marjorie 'Mo' Mowlam who were promoted to ministerial positions, and Peter Mandelson,Tony Blairs much derided Spin doctor, and Elizabeth Symons, the foreign office minister for the house of Lords.[6] [7]

A British journalist involved with the association described New Labour's dominance from the British side as coincidental. He claimed that in comparison with the Americans' broad cross party ties, the British contribution represented a fairly small group. He stated, "There was a stage where ... a lot of the people who emerged as part of the New Labour leadership group happened - and I say happened, because it is partly chance - to be members of BAP ... The American side is more spread out: Americans who just enjoy contact with Brits. We have Republicans, Democrats, people who work on Capitol Hill." [8]


Advisory Board

In 2009, BAP's Advisory Board members are listed as[9]:

United Kingdom

The Rt Hon Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, PC, Chair | Simon Lewis | James Naughtie | Baroness Scotland of Asthal, QC | Michael Maclay | Simon Duffy | Isabel Hilton

United States

Dr. George R. Packard, Chair | Dr. John Brademas | The Hon. William J. Crowe, Jr. DDSM DSM | Richard Fisher | Linda LeSourd Lader | Michael Lomax | Mac Morial | Diana Negroponte - described in the New Statesman as 'wife of John Negroponte, Bush's former national security chief notorious for his associations with death-squad politics in central America'[10]. Negroponte is also involved with Freedom House, the Brookings Institution, the United States Institute of Peace, the Council on Foreign Relations and was involved in the development of NAFTA when working for the American Chamber of Commerce[11]| Timothy L. Porter | The Hon. Paul S. Sarbanes | Robert I. Smith | Paul Wolfowitz


BAP's Patrons in 2009 are listed as[12]:

The Rt Hon The Lord Carrington, KG | The Honorable Philip Lader | Senator George Mitchell | The Rt Hon The Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, PC


UK members of the British-American Project include: | Douglas Alexander Foreign Office and trade minister | Wendy Alexander Member of the Scottish Parliament and former Scottish Executive minister | Geoff Mulgan former head of Downing Street's policy and strategy unit | Diane Coyle former economics editor of the Independent | Peter Mandelson EU trade commissioner | Jonathan Powell Tony Blair's chief of staff | Jeremy Paxman broadcast journalist and author | Mo Mowlam former Labour Northern Ireland secretary | Adair Turner head of pensions commission and ex head of CBI | Trevor Phillips chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality | James Naughtie broadcast journalist and author | Matthew Taylor Downing Street head of policy | Chris Smith former Labour culture secretary | Baroness Elizabeth Symons Foreign Office minister | Lord George Robertson former Nato secretary-general | Baroness Scotland Home Office minister | Julia Hobsbawm public relations consultant | Steve Hilton Conservative special adviser | Benjamin Zephaniah poet and activist | Colonel Bob Stewart former commander of British forces in Bosnia | David Willetts Conservative shadow work and pensions secretary | Alan Sked founder of Ukip | Stephen Dorrell former Conservative Health Secretary | Yasmin Alibhai-Brown columnist and broadcaster | Charles Moore former editor of the Daily Telegraph | Nick Butler BP group vice-president, strategy and policy development | Lord Lipsey Labour peer and author


Journalist members

In 2007, Pilger wrote that:

'The BAP rarely gets publicity, which may have something to do with the high proportion of journalists who are alumni. Prominent BAP journalists are David Lipsey, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and assorted Murdochites. The BBC is well represented. On the Today programme, James Naughtie, whose broadcasting has long reflected his own transatlantic interests, has been an alumnus since 1989. Today's newest voice, Evan Davis, formerly the BBC's zealous economics editor, is a member. And at the top of the BAP website home page is a photograph of Jeremy Paxman and his endorsement. "A marvellous way of meeting a varied cross-section of transatlantic friends," says he'[13].


2004/5 Sponsors



Hospitality and donations in kind

Past and Present Supporters

In 2004, the Guardian reports BAP's sponsors since 1985 as having included Coca-Cola, Unilever, Monsanto, Saatchi & Saatchi, Philip Morris, Coopers & Lybrand, American Express, Apple, British Airways, BP, Cadbury Schweppes and Camelot[15].

In 2009, BAP website lists its 'Sponsors - Past and Present' as[16]:

US.: UPS | SAIS | Willis Lease | The Pew Charitable Trust | Harris Rand Lusk
UK: YouGovStone | DLP Piper | US Embassy | BP | Vodafone | JPMorgan | Leadership Centre for Local Government | BAE Systems | Acritas Research | Coutts | Dickinson Dees | Gibson (Newcastle) | Newcastle City Council | NRG Group | One North East | Sage PLC | South Tyneside Council | Sunderland City Council | PricewaterhouseCoopers | Tribal Resourcing | Tyne & Wear Partnership
Gifts in kind: Aggregate Industries | Giraffe Advertising Agency | Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service | The Alchemists | Sintons Solicitors | QED Consulting | QI Club | Aggregate Industries Ltd | Arriva | Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art | Barbour | Beachcroft LLP | Capthorne Hotel | Durham Business School | Gateshead Council | Gibson & Co | KPMG | National Glass Centre | Newcastle Gateshead Initiative | North East Chamber of Commerce | NRG plc | QED Consulting | RMT Accountants | University of Sunderland | UBS | UNW Chartered Accountants | Ward Hadaway Law Firm


A separate article on the history of the BAP from Lobster magazine can be read here: The British American Project for the Successor Generation

External links


  1. Duncan Parrish, "The NS Profile - The British-American project", The New Statesman, 17 May 1999, accessed 1 April 2009
  2. Scotland on Sunday, October 19, 1997, Pg. 6
  3. Robin Ramsay Uncle Sam's New Labour, Variant Magazine, Issue 6, Autumn 1998, accessed April 2 2009
  4. John Pilger Tainted hands across the water New Statesman; 13/12/2007
  5. Friends in high places British-Americial Project; 06/11/2004
  6. John Pilger Tainted hands across the water New Statesman; 13/12/2007
  7. Robin Ramsay Uncle Sam's New Labour, Variant Magazine, Issue 6, Autumn 1998, accessed April 2 2009
  8. Andy Beckett Friends in high places The Guardian; 06/11/2004
  9. British American Project About:Advisory Board Accessed 8th May 2009
  10. Pilger, J. (2007) Tainted hands across the water The New Statesman 13th December 2007. Accessed 8th May 2009
  11. Freedom House Board of Trustees: Diana Villiers Negroponte Accessed 14th May 2009
  12. British American Project About:Advisory Board Accessed 8th May 2009
  13. Pilger, J. (2007) Tainted hands across the water The New Statesman 13th December 2007. Accessed 8th May 2009
  14. Source: [1]
  15. Beckett, A. (2004) Friends in high places The Guardian. 6th November 2004. Accessed 8th May 2009
  16. British American Project British American Project Supporters Accessed 8th May 2009
Personal tools