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The Potomac Foundation: Who are they?

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posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 07:13 PM
So a few days ago I read this article in the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Ukraine’s military has an urgent need for nonlethal military assistance like body armor, night-vision goggles, communications gear and aviation fuel to defend against a potential Russian attack, according to a new analysis by a former NATO commander and a former Pentagon official.

But wary of provoking Russia, the Obama administration has been reluctant to provide it, they say.

“Implementation of U.S. nonlethal military aid is seriously flawed and needs immediate correction,” Gen. Wesley K. Clark and Phillip A. Karber wrote in a copy of the report that The New York Times obtained on Tuesday. General Clark, who is retired, is the former NATO commander who led the alliance’s forces during the 1998 Kosovo conflict, and Mr. Karber is a former strategy adviser to Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger.


The visit of General Clark, who ran for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, and Mr. Karber took place in late March and early April. They traveled at the invitation of Ukrainian officials, and the trip was paid for by the Potomac Foundation, an American nonprofit research center.

The article and the accompanying report/assessment (which you can read here) alone are interesting, but what really caught my attention was this "Potomac Foundation". I had never heard of them. According to the article, they're just "an American nonprofit research center". The report has a bit more detail, stating...

With travel costs covered by the non-­profit Potomac Foundation (an organization with a long history of supporting East European and former Soviet Republic training for NATO membership), Clark and Karber traveled to Ukraine to undertake a joint militarily oriented, non­public assessment, and do so on a non‐partisan basis.

So I was curious and decided to look into the Foundation, to see what they do. What I found (or didn't, rather) answered none of my questions and raised even more. This group is a ghost. I'm convinced that we're dealing with a shadow CFR-like think tank.

For example, their website is absolutely blank. Literally a giant blank screen. An advanced Google search shows that their name does not appear in any news besides the aforementioned New York Times article and a few others that comment on it. And for a "research center", they don't seem to publish anything (at least publicly). The only thing I did find was a nearly 100-page long paper by the Dr. Philip Karber (the same one who went to Ukraine) on the topic of "Net Assessment", which (after a quick Google search) I found out means "the principal framework for analyzing the national security strategy of the United States". In other words, complicated national security stuff that is beyond my expertise and that of the general population.

So I started digging deeper. I found that SourceWatch has a page on the Foundation, though it was published more than 6 years ago and is probably out of date. It describes the Potomac Foundation as:

"a 501(c)(3) non-profit, private operating Foundation which conducts policy analysis of international security/economic issues and domestic political developments. These analyses are presented in the form of conferences, seminars and papers which are published and disseminated to the U.S. Congress, the Administration, the media, and other policy organizations."

The media and policy organization bit is clearly a lie, since there is literally no trace of this. But we can't confirm the others, which means that whatever "research" the Potomac Foundation does ends up going straight to the President of the United States and the upper echelons of Congress. Maybe others.

The SourceWatch page goes on, listing a few of the Foundation's members and fellows. No names really stand out, but they all seem to be a sort of combination of professors, political/international relations/security experts, former DoD/NATO officials, private executives, etc. These are individuals with a lot of experience, influence, and connections. Enough so that their research gets sent to the higher levels of the US government and they get personally invited by the Ukrainian government to participate in (according to the report mentioned at the beginning) "in 35 meeting [sic] with senior officials, military commanders and various politicians".

So I kept on digging, and was able to find the Foundation's old 990 tax form from 2010 thanks to ProPublica, which you can read here. From what it says, the Foundation has received funding from The Boeing Company, the Soros/Open Society Fund (in other words, George Soros), and the Smith Richardson Foundation, which also funds pretty much all the top think tanks in the United States including the Council on Foreign Relations (which is no stranger to conspiracy theories and accusations of dictating policy behind the scenes).

I also found in the form that the Foundation runs something called "ChinaVitae", which “was founded in 2001 with two objectives: to raise the quality and quantity of English language, biographical information on China’s top leadership; and to create a centralized repository of such information available to a worldwide audience.” In other words, literally spying and trying to gather/information on China's top leadership.

And that's pretty much everything I've been able to find on these guys. Frankly I'm at a loss of what to make with them.

edit on 20-4-2014 by Haniel because: Minor grammatical corrections

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 07:51 PM
Awesome work ...S&F ...I have no idea about what it means but will mark and hopefully it will become another dot that might help later ...tks

ETA I did a little reading on Dr. Philip Karber ...Seems that he is a questionable character .There is a good blog post from people that have looked at some of his past work and found it wanting ...He seems to make things up and is probably guilty of embellishing certain points ...
edit on 20-4-2014 by the2ofusr1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 08:16 PM
Yep, Haniel. Sounds like you have pried loose a beetle from the woodwork. Sunlight? Blink blink as it slithers back to the recesses, hidden from the public spotlight, though of course the pubic spotlight seems to be running only on a couple of dead triple AAA batteries.

Thanks for the legwork.

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 09:01 PM
a reply to: Haniel

Very interesting.

I can't wait to delve into this info.

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 09:25 PM
a reply to: Haniel

Extremely interesting, well researched & presented. The fact that this is your first thread is even more impressive.

You've certainly piqued my curiosity on a number of levels and I'll read thru some of the sources you posted in your OP and also see if I can find anything else that may relate to this group.

As you indicate that you're interested in secret societies I look forward to seeing more your of your work & research about other groups like this that you're kind enough to share with us.

Thanks, and again - well done!

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 09:36 PM
a reply to: Haniel

I did a whois lookup on their domain name and it expired almost a month ago and hasn't been renewed, its status is pending deletion. They don't seem too concerned about informing the public of their motives.
edit on 20-4-2014 by MrMaybeNot because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 09:40 PM
S&F indeed. You've got something here I think, how much of something is to be determined.

I'm sure there are dozens if not hundreds of shell institutes that serve the primary purpose of providing honoraria (aka payola) to influential people for advancing a given viewpoint in private. Such and such functionary you never heard of has a seat in the important meetings, so make him a paid and honored members of a group dedicated to the same thing, making what is essentially an infiltration operation look like a distinguished career.

The line between this and a secret society depends on how active they are- is it a bribery foundation or an actual network of active "agents"?

posted on Apr, 20 2014 @ 11:55 PM
Sounds like the Jesuits and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if they were influencing the Ukraine somehow. Look up Rome on the Potomac.
edit on 20-4-2014 by DarknStormy because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 12:17 AM
Great score! this Richardson foundation must have very deep shadow government pockets.....

posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 03:03 AM
a reply to: DarknStormy

While proving that would be really hard, there are some minor connections: Dr. Phillip Karber seems to be a professor at Georgetown Univeristy, which is the oldest Jesuit and Catholic university in the country. Furthermore, I don't recall where exactly I saw this, but there was something stating that the Foundation does provide some support to the University and in particular to Karber's teaching there.

And looking into ChinaVitae's Board of Directors on the "About" page, the man in charge of it as executive director and chairman is one David Gries, who is also apparently a former adjunct professor of International Relations at Georgetown Univeristy. Also some work at the CIA and State Department, in case you wanted to see more flags.

I was looking into Georgetown University's secret societies as a side thing, but now they seem possibly relevant. Granted, given how quietly powerful that university really is (enough to rival the Ivy Leagues) and the specialized school they have, Potomac is probably recruiting straight out of it.
edit on 21-4-2014 by Haniel because: minor grammar

posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 05:53 AM
Hello Haniel,

Hope this information helps you with your quest... be careful though, they may be dark forces at work here...

Alternative Web Address:

Website (above) registered to:
Registrant Name: Phillip Karber
Registrant Phone: (703) 757-9080
Registrant Email: [email protected]

Business Address: 8618 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 110, Vienna, VA 22182. This location is in the Tysons West neighborhood. (This business specializes in Philanthropy)

Telephone: (703) 506-1790
Fax 1: (703) 506-8085
Fax 2: (703) 935-5639

Dr. Joseph V. Braddock
Dr. Bernard J. Dunn
Mr. Florian N. Hofer, Secretary/Treasurer

Dr. Daniel F. McDonald

Ms. Brenda Hunter

Dr. Norman Bailey
Mr. Walter Hahn
Dr. Reiner Huber
Dr. Phillip Petersen
Mr. W. Bruce Weinrod

NATO and European Security
The Foundation has focused on the NATO enlargement process and future NATO organizational and force structure developments. The NATO Enlargement Study Group was initiated in 1995 to promote the public and professional debate on the issues of NATO enlargement.
The Foundation's programs have been directed toward the next tranche of enlargement and the future strategy for NATO.
The program includes policy papers, meetings and roundtables in the Washington, D.C. area, and international conferences.

Project on America's Security
A group of international policy specialists meet to discuss issues related to U.S. foreign policy. The organizing group is chaired by Mr. W. Bruce Weinrod and includes Dr. Jeffrey Bergner, Mr. Tod Lindberg, Mr. Daniel Fata, and Mr. Doug Seay.
During 2002, the project is addressing the transatlantic relationship and U.S. leadership in the 21st century. The project has begun with a series of meetings on current U.S. issues in the transatlantic relationship. International travel is planned for dialogue with policy experts and government officials in Europe.

Russia and the Post-Soviet Republics
Dr. Phillip Petersen is conducting a Potomac program focused on political, social, and economic forces affecting all regions of the post-Soviet republics.
In 1999 a series of outreach initiatives were begun with the Kurchatov Institute and the Russian Duma. Dr. Petersen worked with Dr. Evgeny Velikhov to develop programs of cooperation on defense conversion, non-proliferation, and civil-military affairs.
In the early phases of this program, a series of four studies explored the developments in all 15 successor states following the dissolution the Soviet Union. Potomac Papers were published on Central Asia, Transcaucasia, Slavic Heartland and Moldova, Baltic States, Alternative Scenarios of the Disintegration of the Russian Federation, and the The Future of Nuclear Weapons in the Kazakh Republic's National Security.

International Economic Policy Group
A series of dinner meetings organized by Dr. Norman Bailey brings together professional interested in international economic and finance issues, particularly as these influence U.S. economic development and foreign policies.

Center for the American Founding
Founded in February 1996, the Center focused attention on the critical need to re-connect our national debate to America's founding principles.
Dr. Balint Vazsonyi, the Center's Director, was a syndicated columnist with Scripps Howard, wrote regularly for The Washington Times, and spoke frequently in the Washington area and other cities. In January 2003, Dr. Vazsonyi passed away following a long illness.

Cold War History Series
The Foundation is sponsoring research programs dealing with the development of U.S. cold war policy and strategies. The first documents the developments of the net assessment methodology conducted under the leadership of Andrew Marshall in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The second deals with the development of cold war strategies during the Reagan Administration.

October 2006
Roundtable on African Security in the 21st Century, co-sponsored with the Institute for Defense Analyses and Forum du Futur/Paris held in Paris, France

June 2006
Roundtable on Trans-Border Cooperation in the Black Sea Region held in Washington, DC

September 2005
Roundtable on The Rise of China as a Global Security Actor, co-sponsored with the Institute for Defense Analyses and Forum du Futur/Paris held in Paris, France

August 2005
Congressional Staff roundtables on Transatlantic Relations held in Tbilisi, Georgia

June 2005
Roundtable on International Cooperative Opportunities Related to Irregular Warfare, co-sponsored with the Institute for Defense Analyses and the Royal United Services Institute held in London, England

August 2004
Congressional Staff roundtables on Transatlantic Relations held in Tbilisi, Georgia

July 2004
Roundtable on Network Centric Operations, co-sponsored with the Institute for Defense Analyses and Forum du Futur/Paris held in Paris, France

April 2004
Roundtable on Transformation and Coalition Operations, co-sponsored with the Institute for Defense Analyses and the Center for International Relations held in Warsaw, Poland

April 2003
Missile Defense Workshop, co-sponsored with the Institute for Defense Analyses and Forum du Futur/Paris held in Paris, France

October 2002
Roundtable on NATO: The Changed International Security Environment and the Future of the Transatlantic Alliance, co-sponsored with the Hanns Seidel Stiftung held in Munich, Germany

September 2002
Capitol Hill Roundtable on Iraq Issues held in Washington, DC

February 2002
Meetings on Transatlantic Relations held in Brussels, Belgium

November 2001
Roundtable on Political Economy after September 11 held in Washington, DC

August 2001
Congressional Staff roundtables on NATO Enlargement and the Baltic States held in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania

May 2001
Roundtable on Social Security Restructuring held in Washington, DC

February 2001
Capitol Hill Roundtable on Assessment of the First Round of Enlargement; U.S. Relations with Russia Relative to Enlargement; and the Next Steps Toward Enlargement held in Washington, DC

August 2000
Congressional Staff roundtables on NATO Enlargement and the Baltic States held in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania

April 2000
Capitol Hill Roundtable on the Transatlantic Defense Industry held in Washington, DC

EDIT TO ADD: Use search engines that don't 'alter' your search results ( or, you'll get more information on the company like their investigation on China 1000s of nukes in secret tunnels etc, etc .... have fun lol
edit on 21-4-2014 by docgreen15 because: Add further information on where to search (

posted on Apr, 21 2014 @ 11:33 PM
a reply to: docgreen15

Geez, that's a lot to work with. Thanks!

Though I wonder what they've been doing in the past 8 years.

posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 10:35 AM
Yeah they haven't updated their site with that information since then I'm afraid. It's certainly interesting, I hope you can dig up some good stuff.

I'm not being funny but I'd start with just phoning them and declaring what your about (generally speaking), a white lie might not go amiss here and ask where you can get more information on their company.

It might well be a fully legit company with nothing to fear from them at all but I'd personally likely try and block your number or use a 'pay as you go' sim card when you call as it is 2014 and chances are you'll end up on a 'list' if not, not that it really matters but who wants unwanted attention lol

Why not call the news paper and just try your luck getting in touch with the guy who written the article and see if you can find out what he knows about them or any advice on who to contact.

Maybe even drop that guy an email just asking for further information on their "amazing, noble, brave" work he does lol

The "I'm a student studying..." bluff often works a treat but make sure you have a legit back story in case they are like "ow excellent, where are you studying" etc Maybe have some prearranged questions in relation to a subject matter they are familiar with, then throw in a few curve balls or just ask them open questions to see if they them selves open up and give you a candid response.

Also another avenue to pursue is contacting the "partner" sponsors to those events they held and seeing if you can find out any further intel via them or direct contact phone numbers etc

Hell maybe just give them the old "do you need anyone to update and maintain your website, you admire the work they do, your a patriot and web design is second nature to you so thought you'd offer your services", who knows they might be busy and just agree and throw you over their literature and give you insights into what "image" they want out there, maybe even what they don't want putting on there. It's a long shot, of course it is but you've got to be in it to win it so get your "blag" on and get on the phone lol!!!

It might well be and likely is the case that some of those people don't work there any more, maybe try seeing where they do work not and looking for alternative contact details and also alternative "stories" for why your contacting them quizzing the life out of them lol

Good luck and make sure you pop back and let us know how you got on, regardless of what your found I'm sure people are interested now what they are up to.

Ow and one last thing, one of the people they co-sponsored a event with was "Royal United Services Institute" in England, a British defence and security think tank, founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington. Makes you wonder, these guys have been around a very long haven't they, interesting at least. They guys sound like the movers and shakers of defense and security on a global scale.

posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 11:39 AM
a reply to: docgreen15

Some great digging you've done here, docgreen.

From the registered name of the site we get Dr. Phillip Karbar.

Some info on his involvement on National security globally. Below excerpt from link provided at end.

Dr. Phillip A. Karber is the President of the Potomac Foundation and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, where he is also the founding Director of its Asian Arms Control Project.

In 1981 Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger selected Dr. Karber as the founding Director of the Strategic Concepts Development center (renamed the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University). As designated SecDef “strategy advisor”, Dr. Karber reported directly to the Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He testified before the Senate on the START, INF, and CFE treaties. In 1986, Dr. Karber was commissioned to head the only study of a “Denuclearized World” conducted for the President prior to the Reykjavik Summit. He also evaluated the Gorbachev force reductions for a joint session of the NATO Political and Military Committees in 1988. He has served as advisor to British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher; Secretary General of NATO, Manfred Worner; and CEO of Ford Motor, Red Poling. Dr. Dr. Karber has also testified repeatedly before the US Congress, as well as the Parliaments of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.

In the private industry, Dr. Karber was a senior executive at the BDM Corporation, a member of the Board of Directors of Weirton Steel, Chaired the NYSE listed company’s Audit Committee, and served as Chairman of the Board of the JFK International Air Terminal. He was also the Governor of the US Polo Association; Trustee of Great Meadows, and served on the German-American Business Council, the US Army Science Board and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Dr. Karber has participated in numerous highly successful IPOs; led two large international acquisitions; and managed three large privatizations. He has been published in two dozen books and authored articles in academic journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, the Proceedings of the American Society of International Law, and the Journal of Diplomatic History).

Dr. Karber holds a BA from Pepperdine College, and a PhD in International Law from Georgetown University, where he was a graduate fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He holds post-doctorate certificates from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Business School, and the Wharton Business Schoo

I can't help but wonder. When we talk about TPTB, if we are getting a tiny look into part of their inner circle think tank in this thread.


edit on 22-4-2014 by Destinyone because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 02:56 PM
Dumping the URL into The Wayback Machine ( gives results. I take it that is what doctor has done.

posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 05:28 PM
a reply to: Haniel
This is one of the more fascinating threads that I've read on ATS in quite some time.

Fantastic job Haniel! and to Doc as well for added input.

I'm glad to see the flag count at 32...but, a tad disappointed that it hasn't moved further than the first page.

I wish I had more to offer but, it appears you guys have covered about as much info that is available on this group.

The idea to call the number listed is great....I'm just to chicken to follow through and not afraid to admit it.

posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 06:04 PM
I took a moment to step back from the Foundation itself, focusing on the report that Gen. Clark and Dr. Karber submitted. Apparently, there have been some interesting political developments in the past 3-4 days.

In Ukraine, opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is using the report as a way to appeal to the United States Congress:

Appeal by Yulia Tymoshenko to the US Congress

I appeal to members of the US Congress to take all possible steps to support Ukraine, defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, especially taking into account the conclusions of the recently published Interim Report of Gen. Wesley K. Clark and Dr. Philipp A. Karber "Immediate Improvements Needed in Rapidly Implementing US Military Assistance for Defense of Ukraine".

It is obvious that Russia’s aggression has not only economic and political but a military component. Therefore, Ukraine needs comprehensive aid. In particular, this concerns military and technical aid that, in my view, should include air defense and anti-armor equipment and assistance with training of military personnel.

I fully support the recommendations of the Interim Report of Gen. (ret.) Wesley K. Clark and Dr. Philipp A. Karber, namely:

- A "Force Multiplier" criteria applying a ban on support equipment that is not lethal (neither a weapon nor ammunition) needs to be dropped immediately; in particular, we need communications equipment, aviation fuel and other military equipment to defend our country;

- to make Ukraine a priority and immediately appoint a high-level official with military experience who will become a responsible person for the US military assistance to Ukraine;

- to provide Ukraine with professional advisory support on military and national security issues.

Here in the United States, members of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee wrote a letter to President Barack Obama citing the report by Clark and Karber:

The letter specifically urges to White House to follow the recommendations of a recent nonpartisan report on Ukraine written by former NATO General Wesley Clark and defense strategy adviser Phillip Karber. That report advises the U.S. to send items that are non-lethal but have important tactical value: things like night-vision goggles, body armor, communications devices and aviation fuel.

In their letter, the lawmakers express concern that the White House is not moving with enough urgency and that bureaucratic red tape may be delaying critical aid and decisions.

Going beyond recommendations, the House Armed Services Committee is making an assertive oversight move as well. In Thursday’s letter, the members ask that the administration brief the committee on its efforts to assist Ukraine and on the overall situation in the region on Tuesday, April 29, the first full day that Congress will be back following its Passover and Easter recess.

What this means is open to interpretation. I see it as evidence of how much weight these guys have on actual foreign policy. I have little doubt that people here on ATS would argue that this could be seen as evidence that Potomac is subtly dictating policy or is somehow involved in behind-the-scenes jockeying in the US government on what to do with Ukraine, perhaps setting the stage for an intervention.

I'm considering trying some of these contact suggestions, but want to tread veeeeery carefully on this. And interesting as this is, there are other projects I'm working on. Still, I'm keeping an eye on this issue.
edit on 22-4-2014 by Haniel because: minor grammatical changes

posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 08:56 PM
a reply to: Haniel

It just keeps getting more & more interesting.

posted on Apr, 22 2014 @ 09:14 PM
a reply to: Haniel

You really need to read some books on how the CIA operates. Everything is indirect and depends on plausible deniability. There are many such false front organizations. The biggest one so far is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was started by a former CIA director, and has had a major hand in the current troubles in Ukraine.

posted on Apr, 23 2014 @ 05:49 PM
a reply to: MrMaybeNot

I think it's worth mentioning that most web hosting fees are paid via electronic funds transactions. If the charges were being made to a bank debit or credit card, it's possible that the card expired and no one notified the web hosting service of the new card information. Since it's only been about a month, they might not be aware of this yet. I doubt they have staff dedicated to website maintenance. They would have sent an email, but it's possible the email they have on file is for a ex-employee/director/etc.

Just conjecture but another side to it. It's happened to my company...

That being said, their funding sources are incredibly shady and is what I find most intriguing.

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