The Jamestown Foundation

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The Jamestown Foundation
Type 501(c)(3) non-profit NGO[1]
Founded 1984
Founder(s) William W. Geimer
Area served Eurasia
Mission research and analysis

The Jamestown Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based institute for research and analysis, founded in 1984 as a platform to support Soviet dissidents. Today its stated mission is to inform and educate policy makers about events and trends, which it regards as being of current strategic importance to the United States. Jamestown owns numerous publications that focus on China, Russia, Eurasia, and global terrorism.

The foundation has been criticised for its alleged ties to United States intelligence agencies and for allegedly having a neo-conservative, anti-Russian agenda.[2][3]

Founding and mission[edit]

The Jamestown Foundation was founded in 1984 after Arkady Shevchenko, the highest-ranking Soviet official ever to defect when he left his position as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, defected in 1978. William Geimer, an American lawyer, had been working closely with Shevchenko, and established the foundation as a vehicle to promote the writings of the former Soviet diplomat and those of Ion Pacepa, a former top Romanian intelligence officer; with the help of the foundation, both defectors published bestselling books.[4] The CIA Director William J. Casey, a leading figure in national security organizations, helped back the formation of The Jamestown Foundation, agreeing with its complaints that the U.S. intelligence community did not provide sufficient funding of Soviet bloc defectors.[3][5] The foundation, initially also dedicated to supporting Soviet dissidents, enabled the defectors from the Eastern Bloc to earn extra money by lecturing and writing.[6]

According to its website: "The mission of the Jamestown Foundation is to inform and educate policy makers and the broader policy community about events and trends in those societies which are strategically or tactically important to the United States and which frequently restrict access to such information. Utilizing indigenous and primary sources, Jamestown’s material is delivered without political bias, filter or agenda. It is often the only source of information which should be, but is not always, available through official or intelligence channels, especially in regard to Eurasia and terrorism." The Foundation describes its "unique ability to elicit information from those who have first-hand experience with the regimes and groups that threaten U.S. national security".[4][7] It claims to have "contributed directly to the spread of democracy and personal freedom in the former Communist Bloc countries."

Current activities[edit]

In the past, Jamestown's board of directors has included Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to U.S. President Jimmy Carter.[8] Jamestown's current board includes Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel, who has served in the Bill Clinton White House and in 2009 was tasked by President Barack Obama to overhaul U.S. policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan.[9] On December 8, 2011, Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator for the Obama administration praised Jamestown for its research and analysis of terrorism issues. In his keynote address given at Jamestown's Fifth Annual Terrorism Conference, Amb. Benjamin remarked: "Because of its [Jamestown's] commitment to serious scholarship and analysis on terrorism issues, I can't think of a more appropriate place to do an end-of-year reckoning on Al-Qaeda – an assessment that is particularly timely after such a remarkable year."[10]

Currently, its primary focus is on China, Eurasia, Russia and global terrorism. As of 2008, its publications were Eurasia Daily Monitor,[11] Global Terrorism Analysis,[12] China Brief,[13] North Caucasus Weekly,[14] (formerly Chechnya Weekly) and Recent From Turkey.[15] Previous publications included Eurasia Security Trends, Fortnight in Review, North Korea Review, Russia and Eurasia Review, Russia’s Week, Spotlight on Terror, Terrorism Focus and Terrorism Monitor. Along with these publications, Jamestown produces occasional reports[16] and books.[17]

As of 2010, the foundation’s current board includes General Michael V. Hayden, Bruce Riedel, Carlton W. Fulford Jr., Kathleen Troia McFarland, Bruce Hoffman, James H. Burnley IV and Frank Keating,[18] while the Jamestown's fellows included David Satter, Michael Scheuer (let go in 2009, he claims he was fired because of his criticism of the U.S.-Israeli relations),[19] Vladimir Socor,[20] Willy Wo-Lap Lam, a Hong Kong-based China specialist, and Stephen Ulph,[21] a leading expert on Jihadist ideology.

Nikolai Getman collection[edit]

The foundation hosts Russian artist Nikolai Getman's paintings of Gulag camps. Getman was imprisoned for eight years by the Soviet regime for participating in anti-Soviet propaganda as a result of a caricature of Stalin that one of his friends had drawn on a cigarette box. He survived, and for four decades he secretly labored at creating a visual record of the Gulag system.[22] In September 2009, the Jamestown Foundation transferred the Getman collection to the Heritage Foundation.[23]

Media coverage[edit]

An article published in The Jamestown Foundation publication China Brief was credited by a Taiwanese newspaper as prompting the Taiwanese government to conduct a review of the island's defense strategy.According to a May 5, 2010 report in the Taipei-based newspaper United Daily News, the China Brief article, “Taiwan’s Navy: Able to Deny Command of the Sea?",[24] published on April 16, 2010 written by James Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara at the U.S. Naval War College, was reportedly the reason why Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou recently directed the Ministry of National Defense to reevaluate the country's naval strategy. China Brief editor L.C. Russell Hsiao noted that this development was a major achievement for the publication and attests to the range and impact it has on the policymaking community [source?]. Published since May 2001 China Brief has a global readership of nearly 8,000 subscribers and is widely read by defense and foreign policy experts around the world, particularly policymakers in the United States.


The leftist think tank[25][26][27][28][29] Institute for Policy Studies alleges the Jamestown Foundation is driven by a neo-conservative agenda and has ties to the CIA and United States government.[3] According to the Centre for Research on Globalization, a Montreal-based website that publishes anti-semitic conspiracy theories,[30] "The Jamestown Foundation is part of a neo-conservative network that re-branded itself after the Cold War from being anti-Soviet and anti-Communist to one that is anti-Russian and “pro-democracy.”" [2] The columnist "Philby Burgess", of the Moscow based The eXile, commented: "Most of the bitterly anti-Russian journalists who publish with these rightwing lobbies are from the small countries surrounding Russia, and they are animated by a deep hatred of their former conqueror."[31]

In 2007 Moscow accused the research institute of spreading anti-Russian propaganda by hosting a debate on violence in the Russia's turbulent region of Ingushetia. According to a statement by the Foreign Ministry of Russia: "Organisers again and again resorted to deliberately spreading slander about the situation in Chechnya and other republics of the Russian North Caucasus using the services of supporters of terrorists and pseudo-experts. Speakers were given carte blanche to spread extremist propaganda, incite ethnic and inter-religious discord."[32] The Jamestown Foundation responded by saying that Russia felt threatened by it and was trying to intimidate it. Foundation president Glen Howard claimed that "they're intimidated by the power of the free word and this goes against the state manipulation of the media in Russia."[32]


  1. ^ Jamestown Foundation, Your Support Is Vital To The Jamestown Foundation
  2. ^ a b The Ties That Bind Washington to Chechen Terrorists Centre for Research on Globalization Retrieved on February 17, 2014
  3. ^ a b c "Jamestown Foundation". Institute for Policy Studies. May 28, 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Jamestown Foundation, Origins
  5. ^ Andrei Tsygankov - Russophobia: Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy (Page 36) - Retrieved on March 04, 2014
  6. ^ The Jamestown Foundation: A News Agency Made to Measure Voltaire Network
  7. ^ Support - The Jamestown Foundation
  8. ^ [<[tt_news]=101&tx_ttnews[backPid]=57&cHash=12d021535bbd0be69cfd70cef8484360> Brzezinski Joins Jamestown Foundation Board]
  9. ^
  10. ^ Al-Qaida After Bin Laden: Remarks by Daniel Benjamin, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Board Members
  19. ^ Lobby? What Lobby?
  20. ^ Jamestown Fellows
  21. ^
  22. ^ Getman Retrieved on November 9, 2010
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Blumenthal, Sidney (July 30, 1986). "Left-wing thinkers". Transnational Institute. Trasnational Institute. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  26. ^ "Review: Discussion on The Current about minimum wages and executive compensation, January 29, 2007". CBC Radio Canada. June 14, 2007. Retrieved 2010-11-04. [dead link]
  27. ^ Vermaat, Emerson (January 12, 2009). "Obama's Preferred Future Spy Chief Leon Panetta Supported Communist-Linked Anti-CIA Think Tank". Family Security Matters. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  28. ^ Soley, Lawrence (September/October 1998). "Heritage Clones in the Heartland". Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting. FAIR. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  29. ^ Ponte, Lowell (July Thursday, October 14, 2004). "The ABC's of Media Bias". FrontPageMagazine. FrontPageMagazine. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  30. ^ Henry, Brian (22 March 2007). "". Jewish Tribune. 
  31. ^ Vladimir Socor: Hound for Hire The Exile
  32. ^ a b Moscow criticises US think-tank over debate Reuters

External links[edit]