Talk:Peter Galbraith

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Article needs balance -- reads like a promo/ad/CV[edit]

E.g., what was his formal status at the National War College? An adjunct professor? A lecturer? That is *far* different than being a "professor", as anyone in academia knows. (Adjuncts are treated as part-time, temporary workers who are paid something like $5k/course. Professors are tenured or on a full-time tenure-track, teaching 4-6 courses, and with other obligations including *peer-reviewed* publications, not popular-press books.) Why are his lobbying contracts not documented here, surely they are relevant -- especially during an Obama Administration, that has made it a point not to hire lobbyists. Etc. Let's look a little under the surface. FakaraSalik (talk) 14:39, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

This guy is a neocon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.200.224.138 (talk) 12:59, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

You need to check your facts. Galbraith was a tenured full Professor at the National War College teaching full time. He taught courses on national security strategy, US foreign policy, Turkey and its neighbors, the Balkans, and coercive diplomacy. The reason you can't document his lobbying contracts is that there are not any. Being friends with foreign leaders does not make one a lobbyist for them. He lives in Vermont, not Washington and I doubt the very many foreign governments are all that interested in lobbying Montpelier. And, in any event, he is not working for the Obama Administration. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Devotedamerican (talkcontribs) 20:38, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

He actually lives in Cambridge, MA, and not in VT anymore. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.192.182.56 (talk) 03:37, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

This is an awful article. It reads as if Galbraith's agent wrote it (and it clearly looks like Devotedamerican is responsible for that - someone should issue a complaint about him). Galbraith's reputation is in tatters, but there is hardly any mention of that at all.77.42.145.113 (talk) 18:38, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

No evidence he's going to announce for governor of VT[edit]

There's no evidence that he's going to announce, and with Gaye Symington now in the race it's pretty unlikely. Shouldn't this mention be deleted now? Bill Jefferys (talk) 23:39, 21 May 2008 (UTC)


Does favors the independence of Kurdistan include Turkish and Iranian Kurdistan? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.162.43.63 (talk) 22:14, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

no - his interest is only in Iraqi Kurdistan - at least in so far as I can tell. Zalali (talk) 18:14, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Galbraith Financial Benefit from his Support of Iraqi Kurdistan[edit]

This section has been added in the main article; there is a citation, but the citation reads much more tentatively than the article does. The article says that Galbraith "has been exposed" as "having steered..." and later that he "influenced" ...

However, the cited article is much more tentative, and specifically says that "the realities were probably much different," and "If proven correct, these revelations..."

This seems too tentative to me to warrant inclusion in an article about a living person. It trades too much on rumor and inference, and certainly does not warrant the baldfaced statement, made as a statement of fact, in the article.

I believe that this section should be deleted, unless and until a source can be found that supports the strong statements made in this section. Bill Jefferys (talk) 21:55, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Both the New York Times and Salon have today published adequate articles in the English language to support the claims of financial benefit; So I no longer think that this section needs deletion. Others have put the citations into the article. Bill Jefferys (talk) 16:13, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
All mention of this has been removed a couple times now as libellous, which is too much, as it certainly was appropriate and well supported from the time it was first added. The language in some versions veered too much to criticism, but it certainly belongs in the article - it has been just readded without cites. So I'm restoring and neutralizing the earlier version.John Z (talk) 16:48, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

As written, the DNO story was the most important part of Galbraith's career. The account was also unbalanced as it implied a conflict of interest when clearly none existed. There is no basis for the $100 million or more figure. The Times says it does not know Galbraith's financial arrangements but, if it was a 5% stake and if there were no political risk (the first it says it doesn't know and the second is improbable) it could be $115 million, not hundreds of millions. It should also be noted that the Norwegian article was obviously revenge for Galbraith's role in exposing the Afghanistan election fraud. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Devotedamerican (talkcontribs) 22:48, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't think it was mentioned as the most important part of his career apart from the mention in the lead. Many (most or all?) (reliable) sources do see a conflict of interest, the version I wrote treads very lightly on this matter and just reports the facts and the reports of Galbraith's financial interests. It did not say hundreds of millions but just quoted the Times figure of 100 or more - I don't see how we are disagreeing here. Whether or not the Norwegian article was revenge, we cannot imply it was unless a reliable source makes this connection. The current version has no cites and IMHO is less compliant with wikipedia policy.John Z (talk) 23:20, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure it's worth getting into whether or not there was a conflict of interest (there certainly wasn't a legal conflict interest). the issue for me is a moral one - the fact is that he did not mention his financial involvement in Kurdish oil to people that obviously needed to know when he was participating in the drafting of the constitution. For example, American drafters and american officials (including Paul Bremer himself) had no idea of this, and have now said that they are outraged that Galbraith did not ever disclose this. It is undeniable that Galbraith was presenting himself to everyone at the time as an independent adviser to the Kurds when in fact he had a direct financial interest in the outcome. This is a big deal. Zalali (talk) 20:40, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

How did he participate in the negotiations? My understanding is that he offered informal advice to to the Kurds who obviously knew about and welcomed his role in developing a Kurdistan oil industry. What is the moral issue here? He helped a people who were victims of genocide develop the political and economic means to govern themselves and to defend themselves. These criticisms come from the pro-Arab side. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Devotedamerican (talkcontribs) 18:39, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

if you aren't informed about his role, then it means that you haven't read his book. he discusses it at length. also - the moral issue if very clear - he didn't tell people that would have wanted to know what his person interest in the outcome was. this includes US officials in the embassy, british officials, Iraqi (non-Kurdish officials), etc. you obviously don't think that this is an issue, but you will at least have to admit that many people disagree with you. these references deserve to be in the article, albeit i agree with as neutral a tone as possible.Zalali (talk) 19:00, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

If there was a conflict of interest, what was it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Devotedamerican (talkcontribs) 19:40, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

He was involved in drafting the constitution. The conflict of interest lies in the appearance that his political activities, positions and writing could have been motivated by a desire for personal enrichment, rather than an interest in the welfare of Iraq and the Kurds.John Z (talk) 19:42, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
i agree. participating in the drafting of a constitution is very delicate and galbraith concealed some very important information from just about every participating party. this should be mentioned in the article.Zalali (talk) 19:57, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

The Kurds surely knew of Galbraith's business role when they asked for his help on the constitution. It takes some very self important people to imagine that the Kurds needed Galbraith to tell them they wanted autonomy, when they had been fighting for it for 80 years. Iraq used its oil to pay for the weapons that destroyed Kurdistan and thanks to Galbraith, they now have an oil industry to pay for good things for the the Kurds. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Devotedamerican (talkcontribs) 21:40, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

this isn't part of the article, but what you say is wrong. Iraqi kurdistan has the beginning of an oil industry but they aren't actually making any money out of it yet. all of Iraqi Kurdistan's oil revenue actually comes from Baghdad. a pipeline hooking up oil fields in Iraqi kurdistan to the national grid, allowing for oil from those fields to be exported, was only online for a short while, and even when it was, revenue was not going straight to kurdistan. also - i think you are attributing way too much to galbraith here. all he did in relation to the oil industry was help negotiate one contract. there are other contracts that iraqi kurdistan has signed without him being involved. finally - it's certainly possible that the kurds were aware of his interests, but even if they did, no one else knew. not the rest of the iraqis, and not the americans. Zalali (talk) 22:04, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

How do you know that the US Government and the Iraqis did not know? Just because you didn't know doesn't mean no one did. I thought the DNO contract was the first. If so, it would be significant as a start to the Kurdistan oil industry. (I agree he should have said more in connection with his articles) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Devotedamerican (talkcontribs) 22:10, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Life as a political commentator[edit]

Devotedamerican - you deleted my section on Galbraith's op-ed pieces while I was in the middle of drafting it. I am going to put it back in. Please let me finish. I will be including a few paragraphs about his positions on Kurdistan and Afghanistan. If you think that it needs more information, please feel free to add. Please do not just delete it, as this is an important part of Galbraith's career.Zalali (talk) 19:04, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

It is already there. Where it belongs as one sentence in connection with the discusion of his involvement with DNO. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Devotedamerican (talkcontribs) 19:10, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

I believe it deserves a section of its own. Other people have written far less and have far greater mention in wikipedia. Galbraith has made a number of contributions over the years with his op eds and they should be mentioned in wiki. I am doing this now.Zalali (talk) 19:14, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

i see that you have deleted this again on the basis that it doesn't deserve more space than his work on croatia, etc. i agree, but the proper response to that should be to include more information about his role in croatia, rather than just deleting my contribution. i will now undo your undo. please let me finish my contribution.Zalali (talk) 19:16, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
i've deleted the reference to the NYT and the NYRB in the "other activities" section, so as to avoid repetition.Zalali (talk) 19:31, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

I have included part of one of his article on Afghanistan so readers can see his views on that matter . I am happy to search for more material of his to include under this section so it can presenta complete picture. ---- —Preceding unsigned comment added by Devotedamerican (talkcontribs) 19:44, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

sounds good. i've already added a few references to Iraq and to Afghanistan myself. also - if there is information about his time in Croatia somewhere, then we should more information as well.Zalali (talk) 19:55, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I had to revert Devotedamerican's addition, one quote was much too long, so presented copyright problems. We have to selectively quote, paraphrase or summarize.John Z (talk) 20:32, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Copyright is a problem. Another problem is the way the paragraph is now presented, which obviously isn't right. I will pick out some good parts from Devotedamerican's quote.Zalali (talk) 20:49, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

paragraph with quotes from recent articles on galbraith's interest in iraqi oil[edit]

devotedamerican has been deleting a paragraph that i wrote on the articles that have been published recently on galbraith's interest in iraqi oil. i will put it back on the basis that (in my view) the article accurately summarizes what has been said in the press, and even gives galbraith the last word. devotedamerican - please stop deleting all new additions to this article and be a little more constructive. if there is something specific that you think is missing from this paragraph, then please add, instead of deleting it. also - i disagree that this paragraph is not related to the passage on the iraqi constitution. that is why every article in the press about this issue has mentioned his oil interests and his involvement in the constitutional process in tandem. Zalali (talk) 22:07, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

I will continue to delete this unless it is dealt with in the appropriate place. You deleted the passages on Galbraith's commentary that I included, so you should be accomodating as well.

it is in the appropriate place. the issue directly relates to the constitutional process in iraq. also - the paragraph that i drafted is much more detailed that the paragraph that you have in the "other sections". also - your passages on galbraith's commentary was just a copy paste of an entire article from the internet. john z deleted it - not me. what i did is find some good parts of the article that you put it, and put those back in the wiki article, which i think is very accommodating.Zalali (talk) 22:39, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Merge section on Vermont politics with "other activities"[edit]

there is so little in the section on vermont politics that i will merge it with "other activities". the paragraph just says that he decided not to run. Zalali (talk) 22:37, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Creating new section on academic appointments?[edit]

i propose that we create a new section that covers all his academic appointments, instead of having a series of one or two line sections on different sections. what do u think?Zalali (talk) 22:46, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

merging early life with personal life[edit]

both of these sections are very short and could easily be merged. what do u think?Zalali (talk) 11:06, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Dagens Næringsliv is a tabloid[edit]

Devotedamerican - Dagens Næringsliv is not a tabloid. it's a financial newspaper in the same way that the financial times is a financial newspaper. indeed - that what's wikipedia's own page about it says. if you insist that it is a tabloid, please provide a solid reference for this.Zalali (talk) 10:40, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Zalali, technically it is, but not the way the word is used in common laguage. The newspaper is in a tabloid format (597 x 375 mm), but that is of course not how the word tabloid is used in English today. I therefore agree with your comment, and recommend that "tabloid" is replaced with something more explanatory, like "the largest financial news paper in Norway". (Which it is by a very wide margin, according to Norwegian Media Businesses' Association.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 193.75.96.68 (talk) 13:09, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

fine by me.Zalali (talk) 15:28, 19 December 2009 (UTC)


It is also regarded as a tabloid--in the common usage--by Norwegian business leaders. How about using both words? "the business tabloid" —Preceding unsigned comment added by Devotedamerican (talkcontribs) 16:08, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

The physical format is tabloid, correct, but so are all printed newspapers in Norway. But Dagens Næringsliv is one of the most respected and influential newspapers in Norway, and certainly the leading newspaper on business and economics. It is particularly respected for its thorough investigative journalism, its independence is beyond doubt. So the word "tabloid" in this context does not indicate quality. Regards Nutty Professor (talk) 19:14, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Dagens Naeringsliv is not a respected paper and behaves like a sleazy tabloid. Its coverage of Galbraith is a case in point. At one point, they ran a page one story with Paul Bremer's criticizing Galbraith's business activities (Bremer had no involvement or knowledge as they took place after Bremer left Iraq) without disclosing that Bremer was chafing to get revenge for Galbraith's harsh review of Bremer's book. Similarly, they solicited Kai Eide's views on Galbraith's work in Kurdistan knowing he would say something inflammatory things and then made that into a page one story. Eide had nothing to offer of substance on Iraq (he has no involvement there) so the only reason to interview him was to make a sensational story. This is not professional journalism and some suspect Dagens Naeringsliv is simply the spear of a Norwegian campaign to discredit Galbraith after he criticized Eide's cover up of the Afghan election fraud. Devoted American —Preceding unsigned comment added by Devotedamerican (talkcontribs) 05:06, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

The point here is not if DN's article on Galbraith/DNO was well balanced. The point is what type of source DN is. In Norway (where I live) nobody questions the quality of DN, particularly in the context of investigative journalism. It is clearly and absolutely misleading to classify DNs journalism as "tabloid". Editors are free to use other reliable sources to make a complete, balanced picture of the Galbraith/DNO affair. Regards Nutty Professor (talk) 12:03, 3 December 2010 (UTC)
PS: see WP:IRS for criteria. Nutty Professor (talk) 12:06, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Many of my fellow Norwegians question the quality of DN. I am surprised you never met one. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.248.246.180 (talk) 14:18, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

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Citations for recent changes[edit]

Hi User:Westerncivil, thanks for your recent contributions.

Wikipedia policy requires sources to be published so our readers can check them. WIth this edit, you said the 5,000-POWs figure was supported by "ICTY: Cables released for the trial of Prlic, et al." This sounds great, because the only source I've been able to find for that is Galbraith's own writings, and I've seen a respectable author write that "many close to events" think Galbraith often "[took] credit for the hard work of others." Along with our policy on self-published sources (they're not adequate for "unduly self-serving" material) means we should try to get third-party sources whenever possible. However, all I can find re: Prlic is this testimony, which doesn't use the 5,000 figure. Were you thinking of something else?

Similarly, I can't find a source giving Galbraith full credit for the Timor Sea Treaty. The currently included reference, a scholarly reference work, gives him a secondary role after Indonesian diplomat Mari Alkatiri, and this Asia Times article (came up when I was trying to find your reference) puts him third after Alkatiri and Jose Ramos-Horta. I'm changing it back to "assisted with successful negotiations" until we can find strong sources contradicting these ones (WP:BURDEN).

About the Massachussetts primary run; the sources clearly say he was giving speeches, holding fundraisers, holding meet-and-greets at supermarkets, and "kissing babies" (probably metaphorically), although he "dropped out" of the race apparently without ever filing as a candidate (but we mayn't make our own inferences). I feel it's a closer reflection of the sources to say "he briefly campaigned" instead of "he briefly explored running"; the latter sounds like he spent an afternoon looking up how many petition signatures he'd need. Discuss? You can respond below and auto-sign by ending with four tildes (~~~~). FourViolas (talk) 03:29, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Why did you remove my source on the Timor Gap Treaty? Your source isn't very good. Alkatiri was not an Indonesian diplomat but Timorese resistance leader who led the struggle against Indonesia and eventually became the first Prime Minister of a newly independent East Timor.
On East Timor, Galbraith's role as the lead negotiator is documented many places. See Samantha Power "Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World" pp 334-336 "Vieira de Mello decided to preserve his own warm ties with the Australian Government by removing himself from the proceedings and appointing as the lead UN negotiator Peter Galbraith, who had been..." and "In the end Galbraith secured a deal by which the Timorese and the Australians would create a Joint Petroleum Development Area from which the Timorese would receive 90% of the revenue and the Australians 10%, a dramatic improvement over the unfair 50-50 split that predated UN negotiations....The Galbraith-led negotiations would quadruple the oil available to East Timor for sale". See also Morrow and White, "The United Nations in Transitional East Timor: International Standards and the Reality of Governance" Australian Yearbook of International Law 2002, page 27 "The decision to have Galbraith lead the negotiations rather than, for example, Jose Ramos-Horta,now Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs, was a tactical one. Ramos-Horta and Mari Alkatiri are candid about the benefits of having the United Nations negotiate with Australia in the place of a very small and very new neighbor. Most importantly, it enables Galbraith to play "hard ball" while confining any ill will that this generates to an international (and American) official instead of the future East Timorese leadership" — Preceding unsigned comment added by Westerncivil (talkcontribs) 13:29, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
I don't think I removed any Timor Sea source; which are referring to? The Aust. YBIL quotes Chesterman, Simon (2001). East Timor in Transition: From Conflict Prevention to State-Building. International Peace Academy. p. 20. . That's an acceptable source which has been cited at least 43 times, compared to 8 for the Historical Dictionary of East Timor which says Galbraith "seconded" Alkatiri. Per our WP:Due weight policy, we can leave your version in the article, including Power's quote, but I've added a note stating that the sources disagree; we aren't here to adjudicate disagreements among historians.
Do you know where I, or our readers, could go to check the ICTY cables you mentioned? Also since you seem admirably well-up on Galbraith's career, it would be great if you could fill any of the outstanding {{citation needed}}s, particularly re: his roles in enforcing the Erdut Agreement, getting East Timor up and running, and the IP's concern below about ethnic cleansing in Croatia. Thanks again! FourViolas (talk) 03:55, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Horrible Spin on his time in Croatia[edit]

The article is very dishonest in terms of its description of events in Croatia in 1995. What happened is that around 100,000 people were driven from their homes and turned into refugees. The area was ethnically cleansed. At the time, Peter W. Galbraith made statements to the press denying that there was any ethnic cleansing going on in the face of an entire population fleeing an army. Contrary to the article, he worked against the cause of those driven from their homes and offered them no "U.S. Support" at all. He participated in a photo opportunity where he drove along with a convoy of people fleeing their homes, but to say he or the US offered any support to those people is the worst sort of dishonesty. Croatia ethnically cleansed its territory and got away with it. Its an incident that should bring shame on Galbraith and the United States. How the article could come to portray him as a protector and to claim that the U.S. was offering support to those people is just sick. Is there at long last no conscience and no shame? Science would be better than the outright misrepresentation of event that is in the article now. 75.17.126.104 (talk) 05:37, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for your perspective. We can definitely include it, but we have a policy—WP:Biographies of living people—which strictly forbids us from including negative information about Mr. Galbraith unless we can find a reliable source, such as a respected history book, which supports this interpretation of the situation. Do you know of any books or mainstream news articles (in any language) which discuss your perspective? FourViolas (talk) 11:47, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
I see there's a good deal more to the story than has been presented. Is this an appropriate place to post this article?: http://vtdigger.org/2016/06/09/devotedamerican-sounds-like-a-politicians-best-friend/ Activist (talk) 12:00, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
It's in a box at the top, along with an update, thanks. I've been working on expanding the article for balance (e.g. with Peter W. Galbraith#Oil controversy), but remember we must work carefully within the bounds of WP:BLP. FourViolas (talk) 12:08, 16 June 2016 (UTC)