Ben & Jerry’s founder Ben Cohen is funding a campaign against military aid to Ukraine

A group funded by Ben & Jerry’s founder Ben Cohen is conducting a media campaign against the US military’s support for Ukraine.

The organization — Eisenhower Media Network (EMN) — has reached out to reporters to spread claims that the US is spending too much money to help Ukraine stave off Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

EMN is a project of the People’s Power Initiative, a group that counts Cohen as its president and key supporter. The ice cream mogul and longtime Bernie Sanders activist has donated more than $1 million to the People’s Power Initiative through the Ben Cohen Charitable Trust, according to public records.

Asked about his role in supporting the group, Cohen told The Daily Beast: “I think the US should use its power to negotiate an end to the war, not prolong the death and destruction by supplying more weapons. “

Eisenhower Media Network Director Dennis Fritz and Ben & Jerry’s founder Ben Cohen

Photocomposite by The Daily Beast/EDM/Twitter

The EMN project sponsors a group of US military veterans as experts and experts willing to speak about the war in Ukraine. Some of them echoed the Kremlin’s propaganda lines, claiming that US military support to Ukraine was expanding and intensifying fighting, and implying that NATO expansion was one of the causes of the war. “We gave Putin a just cause,” EMN director Dennis Fritz said in an interview with The Daily Beast.

This left-wing critique of US policy — growing out of ingrained anti-war sentiment — reconciles some leftists with the talking points of fringe Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, who also argue that Washington is spending too much money on Ukraine’s defense . Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential presidential candidate, claimed last week that defeating Putin was not in the US’s “vital national interest.”

Emails to reporters from EMN included claims during the debt ceiling crisis that spending on Ukraine was so high that the US government may have to meet its basic duty of paying military salaries and cutting Social Security and pension checks. The message included a quote from EMN Assistant Director Matthew Hoh, a former State Department staffer and Marine Corps captain, who said, “The outrageous federal spending on the Ukraine war is missing from the discussion of the national debt… It’s time to think about the funding.” expose to Ukraine if we cannot afford them.”

Hoh and his colleagues have been quoted by media outlets in recent months as critical of the West’s approach to the war in Ukraine. In January, news week and the Inter Press Service quoted Hoh as saying that if the US and NATO agreed to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request for the supply of tanks, they would not win the war. “Rather, we should expect a mutual escalation by Russia, which will solidify the deadlock and threaten an escalation of the war. Only de-escalation, ceasefires and negotiations will end the war,” he said.

news week also quoted Hoh expressing doubts about whether the Ukrainians would be able to refuel Abrams tanks sent from the US and citing another EMN source, William Astore, a 20-year US Air veteran Force, who said, “Western military aid has created a stalemate in Ukraine.”

Fritz, who rose to command chief master sergeant in the United States Air Force after nearly half a century of service in the armed forces, told the same outlet that Zelensky’s credibility was damaged by the misidentification of a missile that landed in Poland in November. The article was headlined: Is Zelenskyy Trying America’s Patience?

“Ukraine can’t win this war… Bottom line, it’s over. ”

— CMD CMSgt Dennis Fritz

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Fritz lifted the lid on the ongoing campaign to turn Americans against President Joe Biden’s military support for Ukraine — and the man behind his organization.

“I’ve never talked about it, but it’s Ben Cohen, remember him – Ben & Jerry’s – he’s our biggest financier. He is the reason we came into being. We feel like our military budget is in some ways too big, and he thinks that if we just budget our budget on what we actually need supplies in Ukraine.”

An EMN spokeswoman confirmed that Ben Cohen is President of the Board of Directors of People Power Initiatives (PPI) and its “biggest donor”. EMN is a project of PPI, a 501c3 non-profit organization. Public records show that Cohen donated over $400,000 to PPI in fiscal 2015, followed by a series of smaller donations in the years since, totaling more than $1 million.

Ben & Jerry’s Foundation Inc. also made a $2,000 donation in 2017, but it was part of a program designed to bolster employee spending on charitable causes.

Ben & Jerry’s is now 100% owned by consumer giant Unilever, but has an independent board of directors that has special clearance to continue promoting the kind of social and political causes that have made the Vermont ice cream company famous.

Last year, the company faced criticism from Unilever when the Ben & Jerry’s Twitter account posted a message claiming that Biden was trying to send additional troops to Europe while Russia threatened to invade Ukraine, “fans the flame of war”.

Fritz agrees that the US must take its share of the blame for Putin invading a sovereign nation. “When we won the Cold War, we said we would not expand NATO, at first it was top secret, but then the national archive published it: we told Gorbachev that we would not expand NATO, Ukraine should remain neutral, they are right on the border there. And we lied,” he told The Daily Beast. “So we gave Putin a fair reason. The killing he commits is disgraceful and we will never forget it. But Putin will not stop. And that’s not because of the Pentagon. The roots of this problem are in the State Department.”

“Ukraine cannot win this war,” Fritz continued. “The bottom line is: It’s done. You are against a madman and his ego – he will not lose. Whether we like it or not, we have to give something to Putin.”

Fritz said he prefers China’s non-interventionist approach to foreign policy. “I’m saying we Americans need to stop being arrogant,” he said.

The EMN group opposed huge US military spending long before the start of the war in Ukraine. Cohen told The Daily Beast that he believes the money could be better spent on domestic causes.

“The Pentagon budget is insane. Example: The atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima killed over 100,000 people. Today’s nuclear arsenal is equivalent to 120,000 bombs the size of Hiroshima. I think we would be a lot safer spending money wasted on Pentagon overkill for Medicare for all and lead poisoning prevention,” Cohen said in an email.

The next push for the EMN campaign to turn Americans against military support to Ukraine will come later this month, timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. The group hopes to garner more media coverage with a letter signed by several national security experts and military veterans calling for negotiations with Putin. Ben & Jerry’s founder Ben Cohen is funding a campaign against military aid to Ukraine

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