Under Donald Trump, the State Department has been victimized by a series of bad appointments. Three of them—the posts of U.S. ambassador to Germany and Estonia, as well as the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, have seen Trump nominate neo-conservative candidates with sordid histories. Out of the three, one was unsuccessful. Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Estonia was withdrawn after the Estonian government complained that the individual due to take up the post in Tallinn was unacceptable to them.
The first bad actor is Richard Grenell, the gay former man servant to John Bolton while he served as the unconfirmed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration. Grenell was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be U.S. ambassador to Germany on April 26, 2018 in a 56-42 vote. Voting “yes” were such senators as Doug Jones (D-AL), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). Grenell was sworn in as ambassador by anti-gay Vice President Mike Pence on May 7, 2018.
Grenell was confirmed despite the fact that he created nothing but furor while serving at the UN. In 2006, Grenell told one accredited UN journalist to “zip it” after Bolton was peppered with penetrating questions at a news conference. Grenell was rude and abrupt with a number of other journalists assigned to cover the UN, as well as UN staff members. Grenell’s gay “partner” was a reporter for the neocon funded and American Enterprise Institute-linked New York Sun, a paper that strictly followed the pro-Israeli line maintained by Bolton and his UN Mission staff. Under Bolton, the US Mission to the UN was transformed into a virtual second Israeli UN diplomatic mission in Manhattan. Grenell was recommended for his UN job by Ari Fleischer, the neocon former White House Press Secretary.
Grenell, like Trump, has become a notorious Twitter troll. After Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear accord, Grenell tweeted from his post in Berlin, “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”
Grenell has recently created a firestorm in Germany by stating that he wants to “empower” right-wing political parties in Europe. In an interview with right-wing Breitbart News, Grenell said, “I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left.” Reaction in Germany and elsewhere in Europe was swift. The German Foreign Ministry requested a clarification from the U.S. embassy in Berlin about Grenell’s comments. Grenell’s comments followed incendiary remarks by Alexander Gauland, the co-leader of the right-wing nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, that the German Nazi era represented a “speck of birdshit” in German history.
Grenell, who is 51, expressed a “fan boy” admiration for Austria’s 31-year old chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, who he called a “rock star.” Kurz’s conservative Austrian People’s Party governs Austria in a coalition with the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPO). Kurz is unmarried, but he lives with a female domestic partner. One of the most charismatic leaders of the FPO was Jorg Haider, the governor of Carinthia. On October 11, 2008, Haider died in an automobile accident after leaving a gay bar in Klagenfurt. Grenell’s admiration for Austria’s right-wing chancellor Kurz and the right-wing coalition that includes Haider’s party appears to be a manifestation of the gay alt-right movement in Europe. Haider replaced German Nazi leaders Ernst Rohm and Reinhard Heydrich as a gay icon of the far-right.
David Satterfield was called out of Foreign Service retirement to become the acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. While previously serving in various State Department roles, Satterfield helped oversee the unraveling of the nation-states of Iraq, Syria, and Libya. In 2008, The New York Times identified Satterfield as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Justice Departments espionage case against American Israel Public Affairs Committee officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman and Department of Defense official Lawrence Franklin. Satterfield was identified as “USGO-2″ (U.S. Government employee number 2) in the indictment of Rosen, Weismann, and Franklin. At the time, Satterfield, a former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, was serving as deputy chief of mission in Baghdad under U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. While serving at the State Department, Satterfield defended security contracts awarded to such private mercenary companies as Blackwater, Triple Canopy, and Dyncorp. Blackwater founder Erik Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, serves as education secretary in the Trump cabinet. Prince is under investigation by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller for colluding with foreign countries on behalf of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. Palestinians and other Arabs have no trust in Satterfield, whom they consider to be a cipher for carrying out Israeli policies at the State Department.
Trump’s nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Estonia, retired U.S. Naval Reserve Rear Admiral Edward “Sonny” Masso, did not fare as well as Grenell and Satterfield. Masso was nominated by Trump in September 2017. On May 24, 2018, Masso’s nomination was withdrawn after the Estonian government complained about the nomination. Masso, a 1977 Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps graduate of the University of Mississippi, served with Steve Bannon on the USS Paul F. Foster (DD-964). The two became lifelong friends. Masso’s father, Kuldar Masso, (aka, Kuldar Mässi), was an Estonian refugee immigrant, who eventually settled in San Clemente, California. Masso briefly served as chief operating officer of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety from February to August 2013. He, along with his boss, Secretary of Public Safety Kieran Shanahan, abruptly resigned their posts without giving a reason. Raleigh, the state capital, was rife with rumors of a scandal involving the twin resignations.
Additionally, Masso worked for defense contractors Anteon Corporation and SAIC during his stints in Washington, DC; founded a consulting firm, Flagship Corporation; serves on the board of advisers of the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs (JINSA), an organization whose motto is “Securing America, Strengthening Israel”; and has written for Breitbart News.
Masso’s Navy classmates at Ole Miss recall him as a congenital prevaricator and dissembler of the truth, much like the man who nominated him to be America’s ambassador to Estonia. Masso, at the age of 19, falsely claimed that he had written songs for The Beatles and had personally chastised President Richard Nixon while they were walking together on the beach at San Clemente, over the Watergate scandal. Masso had also turned in term papers and book reports, not written by him, to his professors at the University of Mississippi. One can only imagine, based on all the other grifters and reprobates in the Trump administration, what else Masso has done to result in his ambassadorial nomination being yanked by Mr. Trump.
Wikipedia, in typical fashion as a propaganda operation of Mossad and its global hasbara henchmen, has purged the entries for Grenell, Satterfield, and Masso of any negative information.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).