Tuesday, 27. July 2010
Matthew Bryza: Azerbaijan Ambassadorship & a Tangled Web of Conflicts
President Obama appears to have run out of Non-Neocon candidates to appoint for crucial positions. After one year with no ambassador to fill the position in Azerbaijan, the President reached out to and appointed a young neocon with a tangled web of conflicts. I am talking about a neocon and his wife, a duo who for the last decade and a half have been attached to figures such as Michael Rubin, Barry Rubin, Daniel Pipes, Richard Perle, Robert Novak…We have here a fairly young to-be-ambassador neocon, whose lavish wedding in Turkey could not have been possible without the generosity of those involved in the Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline projects, and corrupt figureheads in Azerbaijan politics…This is about a shady neocon figure with a shadier role in the almost-forgotten Georgia-Russia incident a couple of years ago…We are talking about neocon Matt Bryza and his more-of-a-neocon think-tank damsel Zeyno Baran; President Obama’s choice for the ambassadorship in Azerbaijan.
Last Thursday Mr. Bryza was on the defensive when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. While the general MSM coverage placed its main focus on Bryza’s questionable actions, actually lack of actions, on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflicts and incidents involving the desecration of ancient Armenian gravesites in the town of Julfa in the Azerbaijani exclave of Naxcivan, very little coverage was given to his even greater baggage and background. Here is one of those cursory coverages I’m talking about:
Bryza also pledged to not let his personal life affect his work. His wife, Zeyno Baran, is of Turkish origin, which some Armenian critics say leads to an anti-Armenian bias. Baran, who was present at the hearing, has also been cited as a source of potential conflict of interest for Bryza in terms of energy politics. She works for the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based think-tank which receives funding from ExxonMobile and other energy companies. Azerbaijan is a key “southern corridor” country for planned increases in gas shipment from the Caspian region to Europe.
Bryza’s neocon damsel’s past and present, and her various business and close associations are only the tip of a gigantic iceberg. But rest assured, our media and Congress will not go ‘there’, of course, without being forced to do so, that is.
So who is this quietly conceived hatched Neocon Larva, Matt Bryza?
As before I am going to start with the common pedigree chosen by our shallow MSM journalist friends and the like; the type that doesn’t raise many (if any) flags, at first glance:
Matthew J. Bryza is a diplomat who became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in June 2005. Two months ago President Obama appointed him as the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan. Here is a canned description of his job as a ‘diplomat’:
In this capacity, he is responsible for policy oversight and management of U.S. relations with countries in the Caucasus and Southern Europe. He also leads U.S. efforts to advance peaceful settlements of the separatist conflicts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, and works with the Special Negotiator for Eurasian Conflicts to advance a settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Additionally, Bryza coordinates U.S. energy policy in the regions surrounding the Black and Caspian Seas. He also works with European countries on issues of tolerance, social integration, and Islam.
In April 2001, Bryza joined the National Security Council as Director for Europe and Eurasia, with responsibility for coordinating U.S. policy on Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Caspian energy.
Bryza served as the deputy to the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy from July 1998 to March 2001. In this capacity, Bryza coordinated the U.S. Government’s inter-agency effort to develop a network of oil and gas pipelines in the Caspian region.During 1997-1998, Bryza was special advisor to Ambassador Richard Morningstar, coordinating U.S. Government assistance programs on economic reform in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Bryza served at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during 1995-1997, first as special assistant to Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, then as a political officer covering the Russian Duma, the Communist Party, and the Republic of Dagestan in the North Caucasus.
He worked on European and Russian affairs at the State Department during 1991-1995.Bryza served in Poland in 1989-1991 at the U.S. Consulate in Poznań and the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, where he covered the Solidarity movement, reform of Poland’s security services, and regional politics.
At first glance the above description is about a good ole boring tie-wearing State Department bureaucrat who was docile and boring enough to last through four administrations: Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and now, Obama; that and the fact that the guy has been climbing the ladder steadily and rather quickly. Taking a closer look, if we have enough interest and if we are paying attention, our man’s operational file stands out a bit:
Caucasus, Central Asia, Eurasia, Caspian Sea, Turkey, Russia, Dagestan, Georgia…
Look just a little bit closer and you’ll notice even more important key works associated with key operations falling within the real interest of the key people:
Caspian Basin, Caspian Energy, Energy Diplomacy, Islam, Oil & Gas Pipelines…
You and I know that ‘they’ don’t put just any good ole boring bureaucrat in positions dealing with the above key regions and dealing with the above key operations and issues. Right? Right. So back to the real question: who is this Matt Bryza? How did he get his start? Whose protégé was he to make it this far this fast? Who are his buddies? The answers to some of these questions take time and real effort to discover, since you won’t find them by browsing through MSM news archives or biographical synapses posted here and there…
Let’s start with the key person leading to Bryza’s acceptance and entry as a larva into the nest of the major neocon players, and his speedy ascent thereafter:
Richard Morningstar & His Closeted Neocon Status
From Morningstar’s commonly cited pedigree sheet we know that he and Bryza collected degrees from Stanford University, which later led to their mentor-protégé relationship. In 1997 Bryza became special advisor to Ambassador Richard Morningstar, coordinating U.S. Government assistance programs on economic reform in the Caucasus and Central Asia during 1997-1998. Digging a little bit more:
In 1998 Bryza was Morningstar‘s chief lieutenant in managing U.S. Caspian Sea energy interests as Deputy to the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy, where he remained until March of 2001, and he worked on developing what are now U.S. and Western plans to circumvent Russia and Iran and achieve dominance over the delivery of energy supplies to Europe.
Interestingly, last year, one year before Obama appointed Bryza as an Ambassador to Azerbaijan, on April 20, 2009, Morningstar was appointed to the role of supporting U.S. energy goals in the Eurasian region. Morningstar was special advisor to the Clinton administration on Caspian energy; time to reunite the old mentor and his protégé for the next attempt on the Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline.
Morningstar’s status as one of the power player neocons has been long closeted.. During the 90s he was working with and serving one of the main agendas of Neocon players such as Elliott Abrams, Dick Cheney, Frank Gaffney, Paul Wolfowitz …People tend to pay attention only to the top 25 signatories and contributors of Project for the New American Century-PNAC. Yes, that infamous list also includes the Neocons shining star for Central Asia & the Caucasus, Mr. Richard L. Morningstar.
Conn Halinan’s counterpunch article in 2004 aptly highlights an important fact when it comes to the Haliburtons, Perles and Wumsers and their Project for the New American Century (PNAC) as it relates to Central Asia:
The recent move of oil companies and the U.S. military into Central Asia is a case in point. It was President Bill Clinton, not George W. Bush, who crafted that strategy. It was not the Republicans who brought Halliburton and Cheney into the Caspian region, but Clinton advisor Richard Morningstar, now a John Kerry point man.
Halinan is right on target: Clinton appointee Morningstar paved the way for Dick Cheney’s Halliburton’s positioning in Central Asia, and did darn many other good deeds for the main signatories of the Neocon Wet Dream in that region.
Morningstar is also known as one of those who take their allegiances to Israel above anything else. You may remember the questions surrounding Douglas Feith’s and Rahm Emanuel’s Israel citizenship status. I haven’t seen anyone questioning Mr. Morningstar’s status in Israel; at least not on the record, but Morningstar and his family are known as staunch supporters of Israel with close ties over there. Morningstar’s mother’s, the late Jane Morningstar, obituary in the Boston Globe provides only a little initial glimpse; others with far deeper knowledge of Morningstar’s real Israel connections would currently rather whisper…Time may raise the volume on these closeted facts, or may not.
The latest articles regarding Matt Bryza’s connection to the Neocons are limited to his connection through his wife, Zeyno Baran. Either intentional censorship or ignorance glosses over his close neocon ties which started long before his marriage, going back to his early years under his mentor Morningstar, and accelerating steadily, assisting his speedy career ascent. Just check out his event calendar to see how his name pairs up with tneocon brand names when it comes to functions, speeches, think-tank gatherings…
Matt Bryza & His Neocon Damsel
In 2007 Matt Bryza married Zeyno Baran, a Turkish-American neocon who’s been working for the Hudson Institute and before that for the Nixon Center. Here are a few of her titles and areas of expertise highly valued and marketed by her current neocon mentors and bosses such as Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Conrad Black, Abram Shulsky…: Director of the Center for Eurasian Policy, Director of International Security and Energy Programs, Director of the Caucasus Project.
The think tanks actively engaging the Turkish Ulusalcıs are AEI, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Hudson Institute. The institutional relations between the American neo-cons and the Turkish Ulusalcıs are run by the office of Dick Cheney, Richard Perle of AEI and Zeyno Baran of the Hudson Institute on the American side and, on the other side, by Mustafa Süzer, former owner of Kentbank and a close associate of Perle, and İlhan Selçuk, “big brother” of Cumhuriyet. Süzer’s meetings with Dick Cheney were disclosed in the Turkish press and never denied by either side. Selçuk is also reported to have spoken with Cheney’s advisors and established a back-channel with the US vice president’s office through Elçin Poyrazlar, the Washington representative for Cumhuriyet. Writing in the Yeni Şafak daily, Taha Kıvanç claimed that this back-channel had already been established before the American occupation of Iraq and that Selçuk had promised the Americans Turkey’s support in return for American neo-con support for the Turkish Ulusalcıs to come to power in Ankara.
It was also claimed that State Department diplomat Matthew Bryza, long-time boyfriend and, more recently, husband of Zeyno Baran, was the person who wrote the declaration read by Fried that gave the Turkish military the “green light” by saying that the Americans were not on any side of the discussion. The extent to which Bryza was influenced by his wife is not known, but the similarities in their rhetoric against the AK Party are striking. Baran, who was already a controversial figure due to her involvement in the infamous Hudson Institute meeting, her article in Newsweek that predicted a military coup in 2007 and her involvement with the colored revolutions in Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Ukraine…
Despite her deranged mother, who has been calling Turkish reporters, harassing and asking them to write about her daughter’s IQ level (her claim on that went from ‘over 100’ to ‘120,’ and during the Bryza-Baran wedding to ‘158’ IQ points!!), the overly ambitious Zeyno Baran’s idiotic move to preempt Ergenekon by publicly ‘predicting’ the attempted coup backfired, and cast doubt on this Nuevo Neocon’s intelligence and tactfulness. What she wanted: to grab attention and score points among her neocon mentors and colleagues. What happened: she exposed the mutually dependent relationship between her bosses and the ultra-nationalist rogue Turkish generals, and brought into the light the active role played by US neocons in the coup plot in Turkey. This major booboo alone was enough to take 15 points off her average IQ. Later in this article we’ll go over another major Baran booboo on the financial sources of her lavish wedding, leaving her very few remaining IQ points…
The Lavish Wedding, the Wedding Financiers, and the Mafia
In 2007, after several years of a personal and close work relationship, Matt Bryza and Zeyno Baran were married in Turkey. The ultra lavish wedding and its highly interesting list of 400 plus guests made the front-page of many Turkish newspapers and magazines, but that publicity was nothing compared to the subsequent media coverage, and of course, the cost to two brave Azerbaijani journalists who exposed the ‘real financiers’ of Bryza-Baran’s lavish wedding and it’s true implications. Let’s start with the ‘highly costly’ wedding, the ‘special guests,’ the exposed financiers, and those who tried to expose them. Here is a snapshot of the costly wedding:
The location: In one of the most expensive club houses in Istanbul. To rent the space Bryza-Baran were given a ‘special’ discount by a ‘very special’ Turkish mafia connected friend (the infamous owner of the Galatasaray Soccer Team); Instead of $80K the rent was reduced to around $35K.
Number of Guests: around 450; many power-players from the Caspian energy field, including political figureheads from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Georgia, and of course the USA.
Wedding Security: 250 policemen were hired and put in place for protection; several K-9 police dogs were brought in for search purposes. In addition to all this Bryza-Baran hired 20 additional private bodyguards.
The Groom’s Best Men & Witnesses: One of the three best men and witnesses for Matt Bryza was none other than Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.
The Designer Gown & Suit: The couple purchased their gown & tuxedo from the famous designer Vakko; the total cost for this is said to be over $10K
The famous quote of the wedding: This couplehood was formed by the Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline Project- – - Turkish Energy Minister, Hilmi Guler.
This is just a snapshot of the ultra lavish wedding, which nearly 300 state and private security personnel were hired to serve. The estimated cost for Mr. Bryza’s lavish story-book wedding in Turkey ranges from $150,000 to $250,000. Customarily this amount would have been paid by the bride’s parents. However, neither Mrs. Baran-Bryza’s mother, father, or step-father could or would dish out this amount. Of course, a bill in this amount paid by Matt Bryza would have raised way too many eyebrows here in the US. So what happened? Who did finance this wedding extravaganza?
Be careful. Be very careful. Because when two journalists tried to answer these same questions they ended up being attacked, beaten up, stabbed, arrested, tortured…and one of them had to escape the country. That’s right. In Turkey, between Bryza-Baran’s rouge powerful general friends and of even more powerful mafia babas, they made sure no journalist dared venture into these questions. Here in the United States no real bodily force or threat was necessary, since the State Department’s stenographers in the MSM censored the entire episode. However, in Azerbaijan two brave journalists dared, and this is what happened to them:
Did a high-level Azeri official pay for Matthew Bryza’s 2007 wedding to Turkish author Zayna Baran? A swift crackdown on two journalists who reported at the time that the wedding ceremony for President Obama’s current nominee for the US ambassadorship to Baku was funded by Azerbaijan’s Economic Development minister suggests some misconduct.
In 2007, the editor of opposition newspaper Azatliq, Genimet Zahid and correspondent Adil Khalil were sued over an article entitled “Azerbaijanis Paid for Matthew Bryza’s Wedding.” The article alleges that Azeri Economic Development minister Haydar Babayev paid for a significant portion of Bryza’s wedding, which took place in Istanbul the same year. At the time, Bryza was the US co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, the body tasked with mediating a peace deal for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
During the appellate process, both of which were ruled in favor of the minister, Khalil was severely beaten and stabbed. Reportedly he fled to France. Meanwhile, Zahid was sentenced to four years in jail on a separate charge of “hooliganism.”Zahid’s lawyers last fall appealed to the International Court of Human Rights, arguing that charges against their client was a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of expression. The appeal to the court also charges that the journalists were not granted a fair trial.
The swift action by Minister Babayev signals that the Azadliq article had merit. The editor’s unwillingness to retract, coupled with the swift court rulings and the subsequent attacks on the journalists, suggest that there was more to Bryza’s Istanbul nuptials than a mere wedding ceremony.
Think about it for a second. The exposé written by the Azerbaijani journalist duo was most damaging to whom? In a country ruled by despots, father Aliyev and now Aliyev the son, riddled by corruption and atrocities, this piece of information does nothing in terms of touching, even coming close to touching, those in power; has no effect – one scandal among thousands. But how about Bryza-Baran? A neocon operator ready to be appointed as Ambassador to Azerbaijan; not wanting anything to interfere with his confirmation. A mini neocon woman working under a powerful group of Neocons whose eyes have been set on the region; getting ready to make their pipeline dreams come true-fruits of which will be collected by their upper echelon bosses. How did it go? Did Bryza call his wedding financiers, his best man, his government official guests of honor in Azerbaijan, and ask them to shut these journalists up before the ‘facts’ reach here and get distributed? Or was it Bryza’s mentors and colleagues making the request?
Don’t wait for any new developments to reach here from Azerbaijan: With one of the journalists sitting in jail, the other one hiding in fear somewhere in France (where Turkish ultra-nationalist operators have quite a reach), and of course, the rest of the journalist community getting the message loud and clear, thus not willing to touch upon the scandal…well, it won’t happen. How about here in the US? Not a single reporter is going to follow up on this massive scandal and it’s far reaching implications. When it comes to State Department operatives: ‘can’t touch this.’
Matt Bryza: Highly Criticized Role in Russia-Georgia Conflict
Let me first provide a little bit of background on Bryza’s role in the region, especially in Georgia and Azerbaijan:
During his four-year stint as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs he has focused on the South Caucasus, and during that period Georgia’s war budget has ballooned from $30 million a year when U.S.-educated Mikheil Saakashvili took power after the nation’s “Rose Revolution” in 2004 to $1 billion last year, a more than thirty fold increase. In the same year, 2008, Azerbaijan’s military spending had grown from $163 million the preceding year to $1,850,000,000, more than a 1000% increase. Much of the money expended for both unprecedented build-ups came from revenues derived from oil sales and transit fees connected with the BTC pipeline Bryza was instrumental in setting up.
Regarding neighboring Georgia, a German press report on the second day of last August’s war between that nation and Russia stated that “US Special Forces troops, and later US Marines replacing them, have for the last half decade been systematically training selected Georgian units to NATO standards” and “First-line Georgian soldiers wear NATO uniforms, kevlar helmets and body armour matching US issue, and carry the US-manufactured M-16 automatic rifle….” On the first day of the war the Chairman of the Russia’s State Duma Security Committee, Vladimir Vasilyev, denounced the fact that the Georgian President Saakashvili “undertook consistent steps to increase [Georgia's] military budget from $US 30 million to $US 1 billion – Georgia was preparing for a military action.”
And here is how Turkey ties into this:
An Armenian news source the same day detailed that “Most of Georgia’s officers were trained in the U.S. or Turkey. The country’s military expenses increased by 30 times during past four years, making up 9-10 per cent of the GDP. The defense budget has reached $1 billion.”U.S. military grants to Georgia total $40.6 million. NATO member states, including Turkey and Bulgaria, supplied Georgia with 175 tanks, 126 armored carriers, 67 artillery pieces, 4 warplanes, 12 helicopters, 8 ships and boats. 100 armored carriers, 14 jets (including 4 Mirazh-2000) fighters, 15 Black Hawk helicopters and 10 various ships are expected to be conveyed soon.”
Bryza‘s assistance to the Saakashvili government has also extended to backing it in its armed conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which in the second case escalated into all-out war a year ago.
The following appeared in the Wall Street Journal in August 2008, albeit with an attempt to portray Bryza’s role more positively:
When Russian tanks rolled out of South Ossetia and into Georgia proper Monday, triggering fears of a full-scale invasion, a man began furiously shoving U.S. diplomat Matthew J. Bryza around the lobby of the Marriott Tbilisi, the capital’s fanciest hotel. “It’s your fault too,” shouted Georgy Khaindrava, a former Georgian minister for conflict resolution. “If you hadn’t propped up Misha Magariya [Misha the strong], we wouldn’t have tanks here now,” he said, referring to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The affable Mr. Bryza has developed a reputation as a hard-liner on Russia’s actions towards the former states of the Soviet Union and a staunch defender of both Georgia and the 40-year-old Mr. Saakashvili, with whom he has a close personal relationship.Critics say that has complicated the U.S.-Georgian relationship, possibly diluting State Department warnings to Tbilisi against engaging in a military confrontation with Russia. Some say there were signs for months that Russia was laying a trap for Mr. Saakashvili.
Do you remember the short-lived justified frenzy over Randy Scheunemann, John McCain’s top foreign policy advisor, and his role involving Georgia? Guess who was one of Scheunemann’s points of ‘frequent’ contact at the State Department?
So let’s take a look at what Scheuneman was actually doing in that role — which helped earn his firm nearly $900,000 since 2004. Lobbying for a foreign government is a vaguely defined task that involves cultivating contacts, trying to shape perception and influence key decisions. For Georgia, the goal was clear — to get on track for NATO membership and secure western backing against Russian influence and aggression. Schuenemann’s dual role of paid foreign agent (as recently as March) and key adviser to a presidential candidate is unusual, especially since McCain has not indicated that Scheunemann will recuse himself from Georgia issues.
As a paid foreign agent, Scheunemann and his lobbying firm, Orion Strategies, filed disclosure reports with the Department of Justice, which offer some insight into the process of exercising influence in Washington. Scheunemann spent a lot of time working the phones, talking to key Bush Administration officials about Georgia’s efforts to join NATO. He often spoke to Ambassador John Tefft who heads the U.S. embassy in Georgia, as well as Dan Fried and Matt Bryza at the State Department…
Now let’s hear from the people on the ground on Bryza; the people of Georgia and what they think of Matthew Bryza:
People filed into the Boris Paichadze National Stadium from all over Tbilisi. Unlike the sour grapes that had been standing on Rustavli Avenue for the past month, these people were smiling and light-hearted, at first. One man in his 50s walked by and gave me the wooden eye treatment, stopped, deliberated for a moment, came back and let me have it.
“Where are you from?”
“Bandits,” he said. “A nation of criminals. Bryza has support of only two percent, two percent of the people. He’s a faggot and a liar. And Saakashvili, the faggot; he’s got to go.”
It was the first time I had heard Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Matthew Bryza’s name mentioned on the streets of Tbilisi and had no idea what 2 % the gentleman was talking about.
Back in 2005, Shalva said Bryza’s biased reporting on Georgia and support of the Saakashvili administration undermined both the promotion of democracy in the region and ties between the U.S. and Georgia. He called on the US State dept. to sack him. When he failed to get a visa to Great Britian in February this year, he said UK Ambassador Denis Keefe had conspired against him with Saakashvili, and also demanded Keefe’s dismissal.
Bryza’s Car Accident, His Victim in a Coma & Never-Answered Questions
In August 1997 Matthew Bryza caused yet another major scandal for the US government when he hit and seriously injured a pedestrian while driving under highly questionable circumstances:
The U.S. State Department on 20 August announced plans to recall Matthew Bryza, a second secretary of the U.S. embassy in Moscow, who two days earlier had been driving a car that hit and critically injured a Moscow pedestrian. Nesterushkin said the criminal case against Bryza will remain open as police continue investigating the accident. Bryza cannot be prosecuted unless the U.S. lifts his immunity. In February, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze lifted the immunity of a Georgian diplomat who caused a car accident in Washington that killed one woman. That diplomat is currently in pre-trial detention in the U.S.
A U.S. diplomat has seriously injured a woman in a car accident in Moscow, the City Law Enforcement Department told Interfax Tuesday. The car, an Isuzu Trooper driven by Second Secretary of the U.S. Embassy Matthew Bryza, 33, hit an unidentified woman near house 13 Ul. Panferova, the Southwestern precinct, at 10:00 p.m. Moscow time Monday, police have reported. The woman, about 30 years old, was taken to hospital with a serious head injury. She is in a coma.
Now, interestingly and mysteriously, the reports and results of the criminal investigations into this accident never came to light, and later quietly disappeared. By the way, the United States government never lifted Bryza’s immunity! Based on the buzz circulating at the time ‘they didn’t want anything out there regarding Bryza’s alcohol & narcotics status…’ The rumors included dependency on cocaine and alcohol, but again, a tight lid was put on any media follow-up on this in the US. Considering the grave consequences:
On Thursday, Matthew Bryza will face a Senate panel to begin the confirmation process for his nomination as US Ambassador to Azerbaijan. Will senators question Bryza for his role in a 1997 car accident, which left a woman in a coma? Or, will Bryza avoid responsibility?
The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other press sources at the time reported that on August 18, 1997, Bryza hit a woman, who was taken to the hospital with serious head injuries. The US response to this incident was to recall Bryza back to the States and express “regret” for the victim. James Rubin, the official spokesman for the State Department at the time said that the decision to recall Bryza from Moscow was made in connection with the fact that the diplomat “is no longer able to work efficiently in Moscow because of this incident.”
Again, you’d think with the location being set in Russia in the mid 90s, the fairly high-level government status of the perpetrator, the serious injuries of the victim who was put in a coma, the efforts to keep the name of the victim out of the press, the buzz regarding drug and alcohol…all that would make front-page news here in the US; no? Well, it didn’t. And, here is how Bryza was promoted later, after his scandalous recall from his position:
At the time of the incident, none other than Richard Hoagland, a press spokesman for the US Embassy in Moscow at the time had this to say about Bryza: “I also want to say something about Matt Bryza who comes across in the press reports about this incident as all but a monster. Matt was one of the brightest, most polite, most promising young diplomats at the American Embassy in Moscow. While we have to have compassion for the woman who was injured in this accident, I think it’s important we have compassion for Matt, too, who has suffered the double trauma of having been involved in a traffic accident and of having had his diplomatic career in Moscow abruptly yanked out from under him.”
Hoagland was President George W. Bush’s nominee for the US ambassadorial post in Armenia. His nomination was blocked by Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, due to Hoagland’s continued insistence to deny the Armenian Genocide. Bush subsequently pulled Hoagland’s nomination.
Bryza was then appointed to be the US co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group and developed close ties with Azeri elite in Baku. News of a high-ranking Azeri minister allegedly paying for Bryza’s wedding to Turkish scholar Zeyno Baran was reported by the Azeri press, after which the editor and reporter of the newspaper were jailed and attacked.
Here is another good question: What did we give the Russians to not raise a diplomatic incident; to make them make ‘it’ go away?!
We all know what close ties Bryza developed with the corrupt ruling elites, including the Aliyev clan! So is there any wonder how those two brave journalists who exposed the ‘real financing’ of Bryza’s wedding ended up beaten up by elite hired guns, and later tortured and jailed? Hmmmm.
I could triple this article’s length to cover the Father & Son Aliyevs, the Kingdom we’ve groomed and planted in Azerbaijan, the nation we’ve helped turn into one of the top 30 corrupt countries in the world, the embezzlement and corruption cases we’ve helped create there… and, I will; it will be another lengthy piece similar to those on Kyrgyzstan’s Bakiyev Clan, Pakistan’s Bhutto-Zardari Duo, and Turkey’s Ciller. Needless to say, the cozy ties between Bryza and corrupt Azeri officials, the ‘contributions’ he’s been receiving from them – including making his lavish wedding dreams come true, his ‘pure luck’ in getting the Azeri journalists…certainly come together nicely, forming a picture that makes complete sense!
Bryza testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 22. His grilling, while not comprehensive and tough enough, rattled him enough to come across as unconvincing:
Citing Congressional Research Service (CRS), Sen. Boxer also asked why U.S. aid programs in Karabakh were limited to an average of $2 million a year, even though Congress allocated about $8 million annually.Bryza confirmed lower than allocated spending but did not explain it. Instead he said that he supported disbursal of all allocated funds, noting that they have gone for de-mining, housing, schools and water supply projects. In response to the senator’s request, Bryza promised a detailed report on the aid program.
So the guy doesn’t know what happened to the remaining $6,000,000! Interesting! Is this related to being out of touch with the areas falling under his direct responsibility? Is it related to ‘whatever’ influences he was under in 1997 when he hit a woman and put her in coma? Maybe we’ll find out more later, that is if the media here follows up on this.
Speaking in references to his comments on territorial integrity, Bryza claimed that he was only following the policy language used by Vice President Richard Cheney in September 2008. (In fact, Bryza first made similar comments in August, shortly after the Georgia war and before Cheney.)
There he goes again; this time blaming it on his old boss, yet forgetting his on-the-record record! Is he treating the members of this particular committee as morons? Maybe. Or is this again related to his ‘conditions’ which were never followed-up on by the press?
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who chaired the hearing, referred to The Washington Times report that cited close ties between Bryza and senior Azerbaijani officials and allegations of potential conflict of interest. She also raised the issue of Azerbaijani regime’s crackdown on its opponents.Bryza responded that his finances have been thoroughly investigated as part of the nomination process and no improprieties were found. He also denied an Azerbaijani media report that claimed that his wedding expenses were covered by Azerbaijani officials. (Azerbaijani journalist who originally made the claim was subsequently violently assaulted and has since fled abroad.)
Can you believe how unconvincing a supposed savvy diplomat can be! Who investigated his finances? What was submitted? How about his wife’s long-list of assets in Turkey where they will be protected due to her Turkish citizenship status and mafia backing? The financing of his wedding is a slam-dunk obvious, the question is who in the US media will dare to investigate, or at least translate those reports produced by other nations’ gutsy reporters! And, how about his role in insuring the ultimate punishment for journalists in Azerbaijan who happened to ‘expose’ him and his neocon damsel?!
We have another month or so before Bryza appears before the Congress again, and hopefully much more will come to light between now and then. By this I mean mainly the ‘foreign press’;-) But the real issue here is this newly hatched Neocon’s nomination by the current President in the first place. Is President Obama that keen and committed to keeping and or bringing back known neocons? Is it that this President is unable to find any clean non-Neocon candidates for strategically very important positions like this? Is this President (and his advisors) simply too ignorant to disregard tons of alarming, improper, eye-brow raising, embarrassing …background and current facts about the candidate he nominated for this ambassadorship?!
Well, you be the judge, but please do more than that. You may want to call or write your representative and make sure that he or she gets all these facts on Mr. Matthew Bryza and his infamous spouse Zeyno Baran. You never know; with enough people talking, writing, and calling, some right decision may find its way into this upcoming confirmation.
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