Double-Header Tomorrow: Iraq and Iran

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Tomorrow, two interesting books will be hitting the newsstands. I know both authors but have not read their books. My hunch though is that they fill in key pieces of the Iraq and Iran stories that readers will want to know about.
The first is Curveball: The Spies, Lies, and the Con Man Who Caused a War by Los Angeles Times correspondent Bob Drogin. At first glance, looks very good.
Secondly is USA Today Diplomatic Correspondent Barbara Slavin’s book, Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation.
Chris Nelson of The Nelson Report asked Slavin to share some of the key findings of her book that are relevant to America’s current posture towards Iran.
Barbara Slavin writes:

The first Bush administration, according to Brent Scowcroft, was eager for contacts with Iran. “We’re happy to do it,” Scowcroft told me he told various intermediaries. “We could have it official, public or private citizen to private citizen, any way you want it.” The two sides got as far in 1990 as agreeing to meet in Switzerland, but “at the last minute the Iranians pulled the plug,” Scowcroft said.
Under Clinton, relations took several steps back because of ‘dual containment’ — the effort to sanction and isolate both Iran and Iraq. After Mohammad Khatami was elected Iranian president in 1997, a warming trend ensued but the Clinton administration made a fatal error — since continued by George W. Bush.
It sought to distinguish between the parts of the Iranian regime it liked — namely Khatami — and the parts it didn’t — namely supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s military and intelligence establishment. Clinton went so far as to name a delegation to meet with the Khatami government, a team consisting of Bruce Riedel, his top NSC Mideast adviser, then undersecretary of State Tom Pickering and deputy assistant secretary David Welch. But the Iranians wouldn’t bite.
Enter George W. Bush. He had the best chance to patch up relations after 9-11 and he blew it. The U.S. and Iran both opposed the Taliban and Iran believed Bush and Cheney, as ex-oilmen, would lift sanctions. Unknown to many, the U.S. and Iran held secret, one-on-one high-level talks in Paris and Geneva from the fall of 2001 through May 2003, talks led on the U.S. side by Ryan Crocker and Zalmay Khalilzad.
In early May 2003, through Swiss intermediaries, the Iranians also presented an offer for comprehensive negotiations (reprinted in the annex to my book). Bush, full of hubris over Iraq, did not even give the Iranians the courtesy of a reply. The Europe talks ended, meanwhile, after yours truly wrote about them on the front page of USA TODAY and al-Qaeda bombings took place in Saudi Arabia that the White House said were linked to al-Qaeda detainees in Iran.
The Iranians did not give up, however. In late 2005 and through the spring of 2006, Ali Larijani, their new national security adviser, sought backchannel talks with Steve Hadley. Larijani went so far as to publicly accept a prior U.S. offer of talks on Iraq in March 2006. Supreme leader Khamenei publicly endorsed the talks, something he had never done before. Again, Bush sawed off the limb. The upshot: Larijani was weakened, Khamenei humiliated and Iran accelerated its nuclear program and its intervention in Iraq.
There is much more, including an intelligence assessment in early 2003 that invading Iraq would spur the two members of the Axis of Evil with real nuclear programs — Iran and North Korea — to intensify their efforts. Also the fact that the White House did not even ask the intelligence community for an assessment of the regional impact of toppling Saddam before invading.
It simply assumed that all would go well and that Tehran would be the next evildoer to fall. Instead of dividing our enemies by negotiating with Iran, the Bush administration has united them. And now — like the child who shot his parents and complains he’s an orphan — the White House blames Iran for taking advantage of the strategic opportunities the United States has provided.

It’s useful though quite troubling to be reminded that our current problems with Iran were entirely self-inflicted by this administration.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

32 comments on “Double-Header Tomorrow: Iraq and Iran

  1. Kathleen says:

    JohnH…”D” stands for Doormat.
    ItÂ’s the Oil
    By Jim Holt
    10/20/07 “London Review Of Books” — — Iraq is ‘unwinnableÂ’, a ‘quagmireÂ’, a ‘fiascoÂ’: so goes the received opinion. But there is good reason to think that, from the Bush-Cheney perspective, it is none of these things. Indeed, the US may be ‘stuckÂ’ precisely where Bush et al want it to be, which is why there is no ‘exit strategyÂ’.
    Iraq has 115 billion barrels of known oil reserves. That is more than five times the total in the United States. And, because of its long isolation, it is the least explored of the worldÂ’s oil-rich nations. A mere two thousand wells have been drilled across the entire country; in Texas alone there are a million. It has been estimated, by the Council on Foreign Relations, that Iraq may have a further 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil; another study puts the figure at 300 billion. If these estimates are anywhere close to the mark, US forces are now sitting on one quarter of the worldÂ’s oil resources. The value of Iraqi oil, largely light crude with low production costs, would be of the order of $30 trillion at todayÂ’s prices. For purposes of comparison, the projected total cost of the US invasion/occupation is around $1 trillion.
    Who will get Iraq’s oil? One of the Bush administration’s ‘benchmarks’ for the Iraqi government is the passage of a law to distribute oil revenues. The draft law that the US has written for the Iraqi congress would cede nearly all the oil to Western companies. The Iraq National Oil Company would retain control of 17 of Iraq’s 80 existing oilfields, leaving the rest – including all yet to be discovered oil – under foreign corporate control for 30 years. ‘The foreign companies would not have to invest their earnings in the Iraqi economy,’ the analyst Antonia Juhasz wrote in the New York Times in March, after the draft law was leaked. ‘They could even ride out Iraq’s current “instability” by signing contracts now, while the Iraqi government is at its weakest, and then wait at least two years before even setting foot in the country.’ As negotiations over the oil law stalled in September, the provincial government in Kurdistan simply signed a separate deal with the Dallas-based Hunt Oil Company, headed by a close political ally of President Bush.
    How will the US maintain hegemony over Iraqi oil? By establishing permanent military bases in Iraq. Five self-sufficient ‘super-bases’ are in various stages of completion. All are well away from the urban areas where most casualties have occurred. There has been precious little reporting on these bases in the American press, whose dwindling corps of correspondents in Iraq cannot move around freely because of the dangerous conditions. (It takes a brave reporter to leave the Green Zone without a military escort.) In February last year, the Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks described one such facility, the Balad Air Base, forty miles north of Baghdad. A piece of (well-fortified) American suburbia in the middle of the Iraqi desert, Balad has fast-food joints, a miniature golf course, a football field, a cinema and distinct neighbourhoods – among them, ‘KBR-land’, named after the Halliburton subsidiary that has done most of the construction work at the base. Although few of the 20,000 American troops stationed there have ever had any contact with an Iraqi, the runway at the base is one of the world’s busiest. ‘We are behind only Heathrow right now,’ an air force commander told Ricks.
    The Defense Department was initially coy about these bases. In 2003, Donald Rumsfeld said: ‘I have never, that I can recall, heard the subject of a permanent base in Iraq discussed in any meeting.’ But this summer the Bush administration began to talk openly about stationing American troops in Iraq for years, even decades, to come. Several visitors to the White House have told the New York Times that the president himself has become fond of referring to the ‘Korea model’. When the House of Representatives voted to bar funding for ‘permanent bases’ in Iraq, the new term of choice became ‘enduring bases’, as if three or four decades wasn’t effectively an eternity.
    But will the US be able to maintain an indefinite military presence in Iraq? It will plausibly claim a rationale to stay there for as long as civil conflict simmers, or until every groupuscule that conveniently brands itself as ‘al-Qaida’ is exterminated. The civil war may gradually lose intensity as Shias, Sunnis and Kurds withdraw into separate enclaves, reducing the surface area for sectarian friction, and as warlords consolidate local authority. De facto partition will be the result. But this partition can never become de jure. (An independent Kurdistan in the north might upset Turkey, an independent Shia region in the east might become a satellite of Iran, and an independent Sunni region in the west might harbour al-Qaida.) Presiding over this Balkanised Iraq will be a weak federal government in Baghdad, propped up and overseen by the Pentagon-scale US embassy that has just been constructed – a green zone within the Green Zone. As for the number of US troops permanently stationed in Iraq, the defence secretary, Robert Gates, told Congress at the end of September that ‘in his head’ he saw the long-term force as consisting of five combat brigades, a quarter of the current number, which, with support personnel, would mean 35,000 troops at the very minimum, probably accompanied by an equal number of mercenary contractors. (He may have been erring on the side of modesty, since the five super-bases can accommodate between ten and twenty thousand troops each.) These forces will occasionally leave their bases to tamp down civil skirmishes, at a declining cost in casualties. As a senior Bush administration official told the New York Times in June, the long-term bases ‘are all places we could fly in and out of without putting Americans on every street corner’. But their main day-to-day function will be to protect the oil infrastructure.
    This is the ‘mess’ that Bush-Cheney is going to hand on to the next administration. What if that administration is a Democratic one? Will it dismantle the bases and withdraw US forces entirely? That seems unlikely, considering the many beneficiaries of the continued occupation of Iraq and the exploitation of its oil resources. The three principal Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards – have already hedged their bets, refusing to promise that, if elected, they would remove American forces from Iraq before 2013, the end of their first term.
    Among the winners: oil-services companies like Halliburton; the oil companies themselves (the profits will be unimaginable, and even Democrats can be bought); US voters, who will be guaranteed price stability at the gas pump (which sometimes seems to be all they care about); Europe and Japan, which will both benefit from Western control of such a large part of the worldÂ’s oil reserves, and whose leaders will therefore wink at the permanent occupation; and, oddly enough, Osama bin Laden, who will never again have to worry about US troops profaning the holy places of Mecca and Medina, since the stability of the House of Saud will no longer be paramount among American concerns. Among the losers is Russia, which will no longer be able to lord its own energy resources over Europe. Another big loser is Opec, and especially Saudi Arabia, whose power to keep oil prices high by enforcing production quotas will be seriously compromised.
    Then there is the case of Iran, which is more complicated. In the short term, Iran has done quite well out of the Iraq war. Iraq’s ruling Shia coalition is now dominated by a faction friendly to Tehran, and the US has willy-nilly armed and trained the most pro-Iranian elements in the Iraqi military. As for Iran’s nuclear programme, neither air strikes nor negotiations seem likely to derail it at the moment. But the Iranian regime is precarious. Unpopular mullahs hold onto power by financing internal security services and buying off elites with oil money, which accounts for 70 per cent of government revenues. If the price of oil were suddenly to drop to, say, $40 a barrel (from a current price just north of $80), the repressive regime in Tehran would lose its steady income. And that is an outcome the US could easily achieve by opening the Iraqi oil spigot for as long as necessary (perhaps taking down Venezuela’s oil-cocky Hugo Chᶥz into the bargain).
    And think of the United States vis-୶is China. As a consequence of our trade deficit, around a trillion dollars’ worth of US denominated debt (including $400 billion in US Treasury bonds) is held by China. This gives Beijing enormous leverage over Washington: by offloading big chunks of US debt, China could bring the American economy to its knees. China’s own economy is, according to official figures, expanding at something like 10 per cent a year. Even if the actual figure is closer to 4 or 5 per cent, as some believe, China’s increasing heft poses a threat to US interests. (One fact: China is acquiring new submarines five times faster than the US.) And the main constraint on China’s growth is its access to energy – which, with the US in control of the biggest share of world oil, would largely be at Washington’s sufferance. Thus is the Chinese threat neutralised.
    Many people are still perplexed by exactly what moved Bush-Cheney to invade and occupy Iraq. In the 27 September issue of the New York Review of Books, Thomas Powers, one of the most astute watchers of the intelligence world, admitted to a degree of bafflement. ‘What’s particularly odd,’ he wrote, ‘is that there seems to be no sophisticated, professional, insiders’ version of the thinking that drove events.’ Alan Greenspan, in his just published memoir, is clearer on the matter. ‘I am saddened,’ he writes, ‘that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’
    Was the strategy of invading Iraq to take control of its oil resources actually hammered out by Cheney’s 2001 energy task force? One can’t know for sure, since the deliberations of that task force, made up largely of oil and energy company executives, have been kept secret by the administration on the grounds of ‘executive privilege’. One can’t say for certain that oil supplied the prime motive. But the hypothesis is quite powerful when it comes to explaining what has actually happened in Iraq. The occupation may seem horribly botched on the face of it, but the Bush administration’s cavalier attitude towards ‘nation-building’ has all but ensured that Iraq will end up as an American protectorate for the next few decades – a necessary condition for the extraction of its oil wealth. If the US had managed to create a strong, democratic government in an Iraq effectively secured by its own army and police force, and had then departed, what would have stopped that government from taking control of its own oil, like every other regime in the Middle East? On the assumption that the Bush-Cheney strategy is oil-centred, the tactics – dissolving the army, de-Baathification, a final ‘surge’ that has hastened internal migration – could scarcely have been more effective. The costs – a few billion dollars a month plus a few dozen American fatalities (a figure which will probably diminish, and which is in any case comparable to the number of US motorcyclists killed because of repealed helmet laws) – are negligible compared to $30 trillion in oil wealth, assured American geopolitical supremacy and cheap gas for voters. In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a fiasco; it is a resounding success.
    Still, there is reason to be sceptical of the picture I have drawn: it implies that a secret and highly ambitious plan turned out just the way its devisers foresaw, and that almost never happens.
    Jim Holt writes for the New York Times Magazine and the New Yorker.

    Reply

  2. Kathleen says:

    JohnH, they do have what it takes to “play ball” tho, it seems….
    Hillary’s Bush Connection
    Clintons/Bu$hco all one big happy family
    Hillary’s Bush Connection
    Bush’s mystery money man becomes Hillary’s
    The Clintons meet with the Bushes at the White House.
    by RUSS BAKER and ADAM FEDERMAN
    Published in conjunction with The Nation
    In the Clintons’ pursuit of power, there is no such thing as a strange bedfellow. One recently exposed inamorata was Norman Hsu, the mysterious businessman from Hong Kong who brought in $850,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign before being unmasked as a fugitive. Her campaign dismissed Hsu as someone who’d slipped through the cracks of an otherwise unimpeachable system for vetting donors, and perhaps he was. The same cannot be said for the notorious financier Alan Quasha, whose involvement with Clinton is at least as substantial–and still under wraps.
    Political junkies will recall Quasha as the controversial figure who bailed out George W. Bush’s failing oil company in 1986, folding Bush into his company, Harken Energy, thus setting him on the path to a lucrative and high-profile position as an owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, and the presidency. The persistently unprofitable Harken–many of whose board members, connected to powerful foreign interests and the intelligence community, nevertheless profited enormously–faced intense scrutiny in the early 1990s and again during Bush’s first term.
    Now Quasha is back–on the other side of the aisle. Operating below the radar, he entered Hillary Clinton’s circle even before she declared her candidacy by quietly arranging for the hire of Clinton confidant and longtime Democratic Party money man Terry McAuliffe at one of his companies. During the interregnum between McAuliffe’s chairmanship of the Democratic Party and the time he officially joined Clinton’s campaign, Quasha’s firm set McAuliffe up with a salary and opened a Washington office for him.
    Just a few years earlier, McAuliffe had publicly criticized Bush for his financial dealings with Harken, disparaging the company’s Enron-like accounting. Yet in 2005 McAuliffe accepted this cushy perch with Quasha’s newly acquired investment firm, Carret Asset Management, and even brought along former Clinton White House business liaison Peter O’Keefe, who had been his senior aide at the Democratic National Committee. McAuliffe remained with the company until he became national chair of Hillary’s presidential bid, and O’Keefe never left. McAuliffe’s connection to Quasha has, until now, never been noted.
    Another strong link between Quasha and Clinton is Quasha’s business partner, Hassan Nemazee, a top Hillary fundraiser who was trotted out to defend her during the Hsu episode–in which the clothing manufacturer was unmasked as a swindler who seemingly funneled illegal contributions through “donors” of modest means.
    In June, by liquidating a blind trust, the Clintons sought to distance themselves from any financial entanglements that might embarrass the campaign. Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson argued that the couple had gone “above and beyond” what was legally required “in order to avoid even the hint of a conflict of interest.” But throughout their political careers, Bill and Hillary Clinton have repeatedly associated with people whose objectives seemed a million miles from “a place called Hope.” Among these Alan Quasha and his menagerie–including Saudi frontmen, a foreign dictator, figures with intelligence ties and a maze of companies and offshore funds–stand out.
    “That Hillary Clinton’s campaign is involved with this particular cast of characters should give people pause,” says John Moscow, a former Manhattan prosecutor. In the late 1980s and early ’90s he led the investigation of the corrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) global financial empire–a bank whose prominent shareholders included members of the Harken board. “Too many of the same names from earlier troubling circumstances suggests a lack of control over who she is dealing with,” says Moscow, “or a policy of dealing with anyone who can pay.”
    Ideology does not seem to be the principal issue driving either Quasha or Nemazee. Nemazee backed the likes of archconservative Republican senators Jesse Helms, Sam Brownback and Al D’Amato before moving aggressively into the Democratic camp. Quasha, frequently identified as a Republican fundraiser, gave to both Bush and Al Gore in 2000 and so far in the 2008 race has given to Republicans Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani as well as Democrats Barack Obama and Chris Dodd, in addition to Hillary Clinton. But Quasha’s concerted efforts to get into Clinton’s inner circle are reminiscent of his relationship with a pre-Governor Bush.
    A student at Harvard’s business school at the same time as Bush, Quasha was a little-known New York lawyer when he took over the small Abilene-based Harken Oil in 1983, using millions from offshore accounts held in the name of family members. Quasha’s now-deceased father, Manila-based attorney William Quasha, was known for his close friendship with Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his ties to US intelligence; he was also a member of the “Eagles Club” of major GOP contributors.
    In 1986 Alan Quasha embraced a struggling George W. Bush, rescuing his failing Spectrum 7 oil company, folding it into Harken Energy and providing Bush with a directorship, more than $600,000 in stock and options and a consulting contract initially valued at $80,000 a year (which was raised in 1989 to $120,000). The financial setup allowed Bush to devote most of his time to the presidential campaign of his father, a former CIA director who as Vice President was the Reagan Administration’s overseer of a massive outsourcing of covert intelligence operations, and who had his own warm relationship with Marcos.
    Harken’s financials were famously complicated. Reporters from top publications like the Wall Street Journal, Time and Fortune went at Harken with zest, but they ultimately failed to unravel all its labyrinthine activities. In 2003 Harken was described in the trade publication Platts Energy Economist as “a toxic waste dump for bad deals, with a strong odor of US intelligence spookery and chicanery about it.” Indeed, the company was kept afloat by an all-star cast of financiers with ties to BCCI, Saudi intelligence, the South African apartheid regime, Marcos and the Shah of Iran. The company perennially lost money for ordinary investors while benefiting insiders like Bush, Quasha and Nemazee. Indeed, Harken has lost money nearly every year since Bush’s days there, piling up cumulative losses in the hundreds of millions.
    Nevertheless, in 1990, when the Dallas Times Herald ranked Harken fifth on its list of worst-performing local firms, the tiny oil refiner beat out the giant exploration company Amoco for an offshore drilling contract in Bahrain that was potentially worth billions. As George W. Bush biographer Bill Minutaglio wrote, “Oil analysts were stunned that bottom-feeding Harken…could hook such a meaty international contract…not only hadn’t Harken drilled overseas, it had never drilled in water. Speculation immediately surged that it was because Bahrain wanted to do business with the son of the U.S. president.”
    Bush appeared to benefit from insider trading when he sold two-thirds of his stock in Harken at a peak price after the Bahrain deal–and just before news emerged that the company had failed to find oil and its share price plummeted. He also failed to report his sale of company stock on time, leading many to believe that he had something to hide. Immediately after a 1991 Wall Street Journal article detailing Bush’s involvement with Harken, the SEC launched an investigation, but unsurprisingly, with George H.W. Bush in the White House, it came to nothing. The Journal article speculated that there was more to the picture:
    What does emerge is a complex pattern of personal and financial relationships behind Harken’s sudden good fortune in the Middle East, raising the question of whether Bahrainis or others in the Middle East may have hoped to ingratiate themselves with the White House. Even more intriguing, there are numerous links among Harken, Bahrain and individuals close to the discredited Bank of Credit & Commerce International, a banking empire that used Mideast oil money to seek ties to political leaders in several countries.
    Thanks to his income from Harken, Bush was able to become managing partner of the Texas Rangers–a glamorous and highly visible sinecure that would eventually earn him nearly $15 million and make him a credible front-runner for the Texas governorship. This rescue and makeover of a ne’er-do-well son was a key step in W.’s path to political power.
    Quasha’s Clinton play began in 2003, when he bought Carret Asset Management, a once-revered private equity investment firm that manages nearly $2 billion in assets. Its founder, Philip Carret, a Wall Street legend and hero of Warren Buffett, died in 1998; the firm was sold twice
    before Quasha bought it for a song. Some were troubled when they learned the identity of the new owner. “I was horrified that he was going to hide behind my family’s name,” says Renee Carret, a longtime executive at the firm whose grandfather started the company in 1963. When Quasha took over, she resigned. “I just personally didn’t want to be affiliated with him. There were too many questions that were left unanswered.”
    As his co-chair in the private firm, Quasha chose his old friend Nemazee, a fellow Harken investor. By the time of the Carret acquisition, Nemazee, a founding member of the Iranian-American Political Action Committee whose family was close with the late Shah of Iran, had become a significant fundraiser for the Clintons and the Democratic Party. In 1995 he raised money for the DNC. In 1998, in the midst of the Lewinsky affair, Nemazee collected $60,000 for Bill Clinton’s legal defense fund in $10,000 increments from relatives and friends. Clinton subsequently nominated Nemazee as ambassador to Argentina but withdrew the nomination after an article in Forbes raised questions about Nemazee’s business dealings in the 1980s and ’90s–which noted that the American-born Nemazee magically became “Hispanic” by acquiring Venezuelan citizenship because of a requirement that certain California public pension funds be run by minorities.
    Failure to be named ambassador did not, however, hamper Nemazee’s rise within the Democratic Party. By 2004 he was New York finance chair for John Kerry’s campaign, and in 2006 he served under Senator Chuck Schumer as the national finance chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)–a period during which the committee raised about $25 million more than its Republican counterpart. This past March Nemazee, at the behest of McAuliffe, threw a dinner for Hillary at Manhattan’s swank Cipriani restaurant, which featured Bill Clinton and raised more than $500,000.
    The exact nature of McAuliffe’s duties at Carret is unclear, and Quasha, Carret and McAuliffe all declined to answer The Nation’s questions on this matter. But McAuliffe seems to have served, at least occasionally, as a good will ambassador for Quasha’s business operations. He brought Wang Tianyi, head of a formerly state-owned Chinese firm and a business associate of Quasha’s, to meet with Bill Clinton. And Quasha has visited the ex-President at his Harlem office over the past several years, according to Joe Wozny, former president of a Carret affiliate. Wozny recalls that Quasha “was up there quite a few times, meeting with Bill Clinton.” As for that Washington office, the Carret website says only that it specialized in providing “information regarding products and services for institutions.”
    But the office seems to have benefited McAuliffe–and Hillary Clinton. When McAuliffe stepped down as DNC chair in February 2005, he said he planned to hit the lecture circuit and spend more time with his family. He may have done both, but he did so as vice chair of Carret from the new company office on the seventh floor of the venerable McPherson Building, once the home of the John Kerry campaign and just off K Street’s lobbyist gulch. Simon Rosenberg’s New Democrat Network, where Mark Penn, chief pollster and strategist for Hillary’s campaign, has served as a fellow, was housed next door to McAuliffe and O’Keefe.
    While there, McAuliffe found time to pen his memoir, What a Party!, his paean to the Clintons and his role in raising record amounts of money for them and the party. Yet the memoir itself, for which he earned a seven-figure advance, makes no mention of Carret or his role as its vice chair.
    Three people working in nearby suites said they remembered McAuliffe and O’Keefe working out of the office, but none of them remembered the Carret name. Nor did any of them have any idea what McAuliffe was doing as Quasha’s vice chair. One person who visited McAuliffe in the suite recalled that he was working on his book but said he was unaware of the official function of the office. “Terry holds his cards pretty close on his business activities,” he said.
    According to another visitor, McAuliffe was using his time to lay the groundwork for Hillary’s long-anticipated presidential bid. With McAuliffe leading Clinton’s ravenous fundraising operation, the possibility that Carret’s Washington office was opened up, at least in part, to serve just such a function is bolstered by the fact that Carret opened the office only after hiring McAuliffe–and closed it down once he left. During that period, though no Clinton campaign committee yet existed, there were signs that he was already operating on her behalf. In 2005 he appeared on CNN’s Crossfire, where the former Democratic chief did not bother to feign neutrality in the primaries: “Personally, I hope she runs,” he said. “We would be lucky if she did run, I’ll tell you that.” In 2006 he kept one foot in Clintondom as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, an organization whose membership is primarily by invitation to elite business leaders. Wang, whose China International Industry and Commerce partnered with Carret soon after McAuliffe joined the company, was also named to the initiative in 2006.
    Meanwhile, during McAuliffe’s employment at Carret, Quasha himself donated large sums to the DSCC. He gave $26,700 in June 2006 and $25,000 that October and also personally contributed $4,600, the maximum allowed, to the Hillary Clinton presidential exploratory committee.
    Since his start as a young fundraiser on Carter’s 1980 re-election campaign, McAuliffe has consistently melded politics, policy and private enterprise. By the time he was 30, he had launched a dozen companies, his own law firm and numerous venture capital companies. Perhaps his most controversial association was with the telecommunications company Global Crossing, where McAuliffe managed to turn a $100,000 personal investment into an $18 million windfall. After McAuliffe sold his shares and got out, the company collapsed; nearly 10,000 employees lost their jobs, and investors lost $54 billion. McAuliffe defended the firm’s top executives, who were close with both the Bushes and Clintons, but went on to attack President Bush for similar patterns at Harken.
    At a DNC meeting in Las Vegas in 2002, McAuliffe spoke about the recent collapse of Enron and questioned whether Bush could “restore confidence to Wall Street when he has engaged in the same practices he condemns today,” a reference to Bush’s Harken profiteering. That same year, associates of McAuliffe, fronted by a fake grassroots organization, released an aggressive ad campaign seeking to highlight the Harken-Bush connection.
    It is not surprising, then, to learn that neither McAuliffe’s connection to Carret nor Quasha’s role in the firm have been widely publicized. Carret employees said they were surprised that when Quasha acquired the prestigious firm he did not choose to publicize his coup, instead keeping it quiet. In fact, the company’s website does not reveal his role as chair–or much of anything about the firm. The company’s chief financial officer, Marco Vega, said he was unable to provide details on Quasha’s role in the company, or even to confirm his current title.
    The silence is deafening. Repeated requests for interviews on this topic were ignored or rebuffed by the offices of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Bill Clinton, Alan Quasha, Hassan Nemazee, Terry McAuliffe and Peter O’Keefe. McAuliffe’s spokeswoman, Tracy Sefl, who works for the Clinton-connected communications firm the Glover Park Group but represents McAuliffe informally, said that McAuliffe would not grant an interview or respond to detailed e-mailed questions on these matters. Sefl minimized McAuliffe’s involvement with the company, claiming he was only “an adviser to Carret–as he was to many other companies.”
    But a vice chair is much more than just an adviser, and Carret’s opening an office off K Street was not a casual gesture. Notably, though the DC office was closed after McAuliffe left for Hillary’s campaign, McAuliffe prot駩 O’Keefe has stayed on as Carret’s managing director for marketing–providing Quasha with an ongoing pipeline to the Clinton operation.
    With an international man of mystery like Quasha, it’s nigh impossible to definitively identify his endgame. But one thing he seems to have a stake in is free rein for hedge funds–and preservation of the low rate at which their profits are taxed.
    In 2005, while McAuliffe was on his payroll, Quasha traveled to Bermuda to speak at the MARHedge World Wealth Summit, which addressed the topic “Hedge Fund Management in a Perilous Investment Climate.” McAuliffe, too, weighed in on the well-being of hedge funds as the featured speaker at a 2006 investors’ conference of the Carret unit Brean Murray, Carret & Co., where, according to advance publicity material, he planned to address the “current political debate in Washington, DC and its impact on Wall Street and the status of potential further hedge fund regulation.” Also indicative of an interest in influencing hedge fund policy is the presence on Carret’s International Advisory Board of Philippa Malmgren, who served as George W. Bush’s liaison to the financial markets, and who often speaks and writes on politics and policy related to hedge funds.
    According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Hillary Clinton, whose daughter, Chelsea, works for a hedge fund run by a prominent Democratic donor–came in second only to Joe Lieberman in cash raised from hedge fund managers during the 2006 election cycle. She has belatedly and reluctantly joined other presidential candidates in calling for a change in the law so that fund managers would pay taxes at the same rate as everybody else. Clearly, her supporters among hedge fund figures have much to gain by electing a President who feels Wall Street’s pain.
    Whatever Carret’s overall objectives, the company is on the march. “We’ve taken the Brean Murray and the Carret platforms and expanded them into China, India, Eastern Europe and Russia, and we will be doing so in Latin America as well,” Nemazee said in a 2006 interview with Leaders magazine.
    While Quasha & Co. keep an eye on hedge fund regulation, they also appear to be helping the repressive Chinese government keep an eye on its own people. Brean Murray, Carret recently acted as the sole placement agent in an $8 million deal with the Shenzhen-based China Security and Surveillance Technology. China Security won a contract last year from the quasi-governmental Shenzhen Cyber Caf頁ssociation to install video monitoring systems for more than 1,000 local Internet cafes, popular outlets for criticism of the regime. A Brean Murray, Carret press release celebrates its cooperation with the clampdown: “the estimated 2.19 million registered entertainment halls in China must purchase video-monitoring systems covering entrances, exits and main corridors. The Company is actively pursuing similar opportunities within the other provinces of China.”
    Is there cause for concern over Alan Quasha’s apparent efforts to gain influence with a potential President of the United States? Amazingly, to reassure the public on the integrity of its operation, the Clinton camp has rolled out none other than Quasha’s business partner Hassan Nemazee. In an interview with the New York Times on the implications of the Hsu affair, Nemazee, who describes himself as an economic policy adviser to Hillary but was identified by the Times as a “fundraising bundler for Mrs. Clinton, as Mr. Hsu had been,” declared, “The Clinton campaign has done as much if not more than any campaign to protect itself from situations such as this, and none of the other campaigns, other than hypocritically, can point a finger at the Clinton campaign on fundraising problems.”
    Russ Baker is founder of the Real News Project.
    Adam Federman is the research associate of the Real News Project.

    Reply

  3. JohnH says:

    Lev: You’re right. The Democrats don’t end the war because a large proportion of them are really pro-war and only pretend to be an opposition party. I call them Vichy Democrats, nominally independent but actually beholden to the Fuhrer. Fortunately, people like David Obey have chosen to draw a line in the sand: no more supplementals until Bush negotiates on withdrawal.
    The Vichy Democrats game is very self destructive. It’s ia a cult of weakness. Every time Bush wants something, they cave under the pretense of needing to be strong on national security. Of course, by voting to be strong they actually show how weak they are. And then they go around whining that they don’t have the votes to do anything else. More weakness.
    Their behavior proves over and over again that Democrats simply do not have the strength of character to lead. When they get punished at the polls for their weakness, they will have only themselves to blame. Unfortuately, the country will lose along with them.

    Reply

  4. Kathleen says:

    Well, Sandy, you do know one or two courageous Dems, Feingold, Kucinich, Gravel, Gore.
    Coooraaage, my friend. Here’s a bit by Maureen Dowd. I loved her book BushWorld. Her humor was so smooth and spot on, it was downright healing to my heart to read it. One thing that made 4 more years of Busholini endurable was the thought of next edition of BushWorld.
    Subj: [CTpeace-activists] Rudy Giuliani hatred of Muslims delights Republican Jewish Forum
    Rudy Roughs Up Arabs
    By MAUREEN DOWD
    Published: October 17, 2007
    Now comes ?Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.?
    David Horowitz?s conservative Freedom Center has designated next week
    the time to ?break through the barrier of politically correct
    doublespeak that prevails on American campuses, if you want to help our
    brave troops, who are fighting the Islamo-Fascists abroad.?
    The Freedom Center?s terrorism awareness program is urging college
    students to stage sit-ins outside the offices of women?s studies
    departments to protest ?the silence of feminists over the oppression of
    women in Islam? and to distribute pamphlets on Islamo-Fascism. Their
    titles include ?The Islamic Mein Kampf,? ?Why Israel is the Victim? and
    ?Jimmy Carter?s War Against the Jews.?
    Even before Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, the Republican presidential
    candidates were pitching in yesterday at the Republican Jewish
    Coalition Victory 2008 Forum here.
    ?I don?t know if you?ve noticed this about the Democratic debates,?
    Rudy Giuliani said, ?but they never use the word ?Islamic terrorist.?
    Ever.?
    ?They have a very hard time getting those words out of their mouth,? he
    continued, to the delight of his listeners. ?I think it?s quite clear
    to me now, having listened to seven or eight of their debates, that
    they think it?s politically incorrect to say the words. I don?t know
    exactly who they think they?re offending. I don?t know what kind of
    view of the world they have. I understand when I say ?Islamic
    terrorism,? I?m not offending all of Islam. I?m not offending all of
    the Arab world. I?m offending exactly who I want to offend and making
    it clear to them that we stand against them.?
    As the phlegmatic Fred Thompson plummeted in the polls and made a
    lackluster appearance at the forum, a juiced Mr. Giuliani preened in
    front of an audience that loved him.
    He went through his greatest hits: The time he yanked Yasir Arafat out
    of Lincoln Center during a performance of Beethoven?s Ninth. ?The thing
    that really bothered me was, he didn?t have a ticket,? Rudy recalled.
    ?He was a freeloader!?
    The time he tossed back a $10 million check for 9/11 families from the
    Saudi prince who urged America to ?adopt a more balanced stance toward
    the Palestinian cause.?
    ?You know, Israel?s not perfect, and America?s not perfect, but we?re
    not terrorist states,? he said.
    There has been much discussion about liberal Rudy stances on guns,
    gays, abortion, divorce and comic cross-dressing that are well-suited
    to Manhattan but not to G.O.P. primary voters. But there?s also his
    bearhug with Israel, so hearty that even W.?s embrace seems tepid in
    comparison.
    But Rudy seems out of the Republican mainstream on even giving
    lip-service to Palestinian aspirations. He has no patience for
    buttering up the Arabs, or the Republican men?s club attitude
    represented by Saudi-loving Bush senior and James Baker that has always
    favored a more ?even-handed? policy in the Middle East.
    Mr. Baker once reportedly justified the tough policy of the Bush 41
    administration toward Israel with the notorious comment to a colleague:
    ?[Expletive] the Jews. They didn?t vote for us anyway.?
    W. blew off the Baker-Hamilton panel suggestions on Iraq that urged the
    administration to aggressively referee the Israeli-Palestinian dispute,
    to begin negotiations with Iran and Syria and called for Israel to
    return the Golan Heights to Syria. Imagine what Rudy would do.
    Even though he has been closer to Israel than his dad, at least W. held
    the Saudi crown prince?s hand in Crawford. (Bush senior and Dick Cheney
    were very tight with Saudi Prince Bandar. At a party at the vice
    president?s mansion once, I watched Bandar greet waiters like old
    friends.)
    Rudy would probably only take the hand of an Arab leader to throw him
    down a ravine, or a wadi.
    ?We need to isolate the terror-funding theocrats in every way
    possible,? he told the Jewish hawks, during a rant on Iran. ?And we
    must end direct and indirect investment until they change their
    course.?
    Rudy lambasted Hillary and Obama for their ?strong Democratic desire to
    negotiate, negotiate, negotiate and negotiate,? and suggested again
    that he would be tougher on Iran than Hillary, and would never let it
    get a nuclear weapon.
    Last night, when he and Judi were interviewed by Fox?s Sean Hannity,
    Rudy ratcheted it up, saying that Hillary?s ?ambiguity? and ?shifting
    of position? on Iran was ?a dangerous tendency, I think, in somebody
    that aspires to take on a position where you have got to be pretty darn
    decisive.?
    He also bored in where Obama has been skittish about going: her
    experience. ?Honestly, in most respects, I don?t know Hillary?s
    experience. She?s never run a city. She?s never run a state. She?s
    never run a business. She has never met a payroll. She has never been
    responsible for the safety and security of millions of people, much
    less even hundreds of people.?
    He assured everyone he?d learned how to put his cellphone on vibrate.
    But he left himself at full volume.

    Reply

  5. Sandy says:

    Gee, Lev, you’re talking about courageous people. People of principle. People of integrity. Are we talking about the same Democrats? Not anyone I know!

    Reply

  6. Lev says:

    I am sick to death of hearing the fake opposition Dems in Congress moan about not having enough votes to end the war in Iraq. They give lip service to the myth that the only way to end the war is to write a bill saying “the war is now over” and send it to Bush for a prompt veto, then override the veto. They then throw up their hands, saying “Well, as you can see, we don’t have the votes to override any veto, so there’s no way to end the war. Sorry folks.”
    This is disingenious and vividly illustrates who the Dems are really serving: the establishment, not their constituents.
    Here’s how to end the war: No bill specifically ending the war is even necessary. Remember those supplemental funding bills the Cheney regime has to constantly ask for, to continue funding the Iraq war piecemeal instead of in yearly lump sums attached to the actual defense budget? That’s the achilles’ heel of their war effort. The next time Bush asks for another $80 billion or whatever to keep the Iraq bloodbath going, all the Democrats have to do to end the war is to say: NO. To say “We won’t allocate one more penny for your illegal war”. Last I checked the Dems have a wafer-thin majority in both houses. With no Dems voting for the next spending bill it won’t be passed and thus it won’t make it to Bush’s desk for signing. Bush (and especially his puppetmaster Cheney) may have concentrated an inordinate amount of power in the hands of the executive branch, but even they can’t send spending bills to their own desk. That necessarily has to come from Congress. If it never reaches his desk he can’t sign it, and will have 2 choices: 1.pull the troops out while there is still enough money left in the pipeline so to speak to allow an orderly withdrawl (and anyone who has five or more brain cells knows that the money isn’t going to run out the next day, that’s a non-issue that the right wing tries to use as a scare tactic but it is ridiculously dumbed down and simply not true; they don’t wait until they have $5 left before asking for another supplemental OK?); or 2.don’t pull them out right away, and leave them to wither on the vine in Iraq until the money DOES completely run out and they have to withdraw from Iraq chaotically, burning their supplies and vehicles. Either way the war will end pretty soon if the Dems refuse to vote on supplementals. They don’t have to write a bill saying they are cutting off funding; this is only a fig leaf so they can pretend to be doing something to end the war when all they are doing is purposely spinning their wheels. All they have to do is to NOT VOTE ON SUPPLEMENTALS. Pretty effing simple. The people NOW need to DEMAND in so many words that if the Democrats are a genuine opposition party that they will carry out the will of the people and NOT VOTE on supplementals. If they are a fake opposition party as I feel they are, and are acting not in the people’s interest but playing for the same team as the Republicans, then continue with more of the same hand-wringing and impotent nonbinding resolutions that resolve nothing. Decision time Democrats. Which are you? Genuine? Or fake opposition? I think I already know the answer to that one but why don’t you surprise me?

    Reply

  7. Lev says:

    I am sick to death of hearing the fake opposition Dems in Congress moan about not having enough votes to end the war in Iraq. They give lip service to the myth that the only way to end the war is to write a bill saying “the war is now over” and send it to Bush for a prompt veto, then override the veto. They then throw up their hands, saying “Well, as you can see, we don’t have the votes to override any veto, so there’s no way to end the war. Sorry folks.”
    This is disingenious and vividly illustrates who the Dems are really serving: the establishment, not their constituents.
    Here’s how to end the war: No bill specifically ending the war is even necessary. Remember those supplemental funding bills the Cheney regime has to constantly ask for, to continue funding the Iraq war piecemeal instead of in yearly lump sums attached to the actual defense budget? That’s the achilles’ heel of their war effort. The next time Bush asks for another $80 billion or whatever to keep the Iraq bloodbath going, all the Democrats have to do to end the war is to say: NO. To say “We won’t allocate one more penny for your illegal war”. Last I checked the Dems have a wafer-thin majority in both houses. With no Dems voting for the next spending bill it won’t be passed and thus it won’t make it to Bush’s desk for signing. Bush (and especially his puppetmaster Cheney) may have concentrated an inordinate amount of power in the hands of the executive branch, but even they can’t send spending bills to their own desk. That necessarily has to come from Congress. If it never reaches his desk he can’t sign it, and will have 2 choices: 1.pull the troops out while there is still enough money left in the pipeline so to speak to allow an orderly withdrawl (and anyone who has five or more brain cells knows that the money isn’t going to run out the next day, that’s a non-issue that the right wing tries to use as a scare tactic but it is ridiculously dumbed down and simply not true; they don’t wait until they have $5 left before asking for another supplemental OK?); or 2.don’t pull them out right away, and leave them to wither on the vine in Iraq until the money DOES completely run out and they have to withdraw from Iraq chaotically, burning their supplies and vehicles. Either way the war will end pretty soon if the Dems refuse to vote on supplementals. They don’t have to write a bill saying they are cutting off funding; this is only a fig leaf so they can pretend to be doing something to end the war when all they are doing is purposely spinning their wheels. All they have to do is to NOT VOTE ON SUPPLEMENTALS. Pretty effing simple. The people NOW need to DEMAND in so many words that if the Democrats are a genuine opposition party that they will carry out the will of the people and NOT VOTE on supplementals. If they are a fake opposition party as I feel they are, and are acting not in the people’s interest but playing for the same team as the Republicans, then continue with more of the same hand-wringing and impotent nonbinding resolutions that resolve nothing. Decision time Democrats. Which are you? Genuine? Or fake opposition? I think I already know the answer to that one but why don’t you surprise me?

    Reply

  8. Sandy says:

    Tests for the candidates — yes, BY ALL MEANS!
    http://www.antiwar.com/engelhardt/?articleid=11772
    “…Bush came to office a man who knew little of the world, who had hardly traveled outside the country, who knew nothing of the practice of foreign policy and diplomacy. Two years later, after the attacks of September 11 and his emergence as a self-described “war president,” he has come to know only that this lack of knowledge is not a handicap but perhaps even a strength: that he doesn’t need to know things in order to believe that he’s right and to be at peace with himself. He has redefined his weakness – his lack of knowledge and experience – as his singular strength. He believes he’s right. It is a matter of generations and destiny and freedom: it is “up to us to face a serious threat to peace.” For Bush, faith, conviction, and a felt sense of destiny – not facts or knowledge – are the real necessities of leadership.2 ….”

    Reply

  9. Kathleen says:

    Sorry, but I think it’s a little too Jim Crow for one group of people to establish a “test” for others to take to qualify to vote. There are all kinds of intelligence, some which doesn’t measure verbally. Tests for candidates, possibly.

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “However your post reminds me why I am in favor of I.Q. test for voters.”
    Posted by Carroll
    Perhaps some system through which we could judge character would be more useful. There are some very smart people endorsing some very sleazy people, and those are the assholes we really need to weed out. Besides, you don’t need to be very smart to realize we are getting screwed over.

    Reply

  11. Sandy says:

    I used to think that if and when they do bomb Iran that THAT would stir the sleeping beast and cause them (us) to rise up…as you say. But I’m not so sure any more.
    It’s why I think we’re already lost…but are too close in to see that.
    I’ve been an optimist all my life. Even despite some life-shattering events.
    But I confess…this past seven years has really taken its toll.
    I don’t mean to sound *silly* or victim of “magical thinking” or anything. But I have wondered to myself whether an even larger catastrophe
    (WWIII, as Bush talked about this very morning) and/or China calling in our debt ….the dollar collapsing….on and on.
    I have wondered if maybe that is — given the total corruption — maybe a healthy…or healthier…thing. For the rest of the world.
    Sort of a natural “balancing”…..or that PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM I talked about wrt Matt Stoller’s article in which he used all those chaos theory terms. Scientists watch these sorts of periods — on a larger (and at the very smallest) scale.
    May not be good for Americans. May well be better for the world at large, though. And maybe it’s time for that. Maybe we’ve already squandered our chances to right this sinking ship.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    Question related to Sandy’s article.
    So how are we going to stop this?
    How many times have we pinned our hopes on electing “new representives?…only to see them become the same as the old representives?
    There are exceptions like Dennis and Paul and a very few others, but the majority of them are corrupted on contact with the self serving politics of the system.
    I see only two ways to cure this…a revolt of withholding our taxes and starving them out or an all out revolution of civil disobedience that causes social unrest and economic chaos. Short of a devastating shake up in the nation nothing is going to change. We need the outrage of the civil rights movement and the VN war applied to the corruption of this government. If we all have suffer some during it that is the price we pay for our past apathy.

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    Posted by Sandy at October 17, 2007 03:30 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Great catch Sandy…Thanks!
    What can we say?
    The Iraq invasion is the biggest “criminal” enterprize in history.
    Absolutely sickening.
    The fact that this and all the other corruption is still continuing by permission of both our political parties convinces me again that the only way to get this country back is to collapse this government, all of it.
    It’s too sick to keep going.

    Reply

  14. Sandy says:

    Thanks, Kathleen! I needed to share my misery…and shock. Well, no, I guess not “shock”….I’m no longer surprised at anything they do. And, get away with. sigh
    It isn’t a matter of wondering when this country will be lost. It already is….and has been.

    Reply

  15. Kathleen says:

    Chuck.. you’re exactly right… it does go back to Mosadegh.. how dare he start OPEC and want to control his country’s natural resources?
    JohnH… Yes, indeed, I too wish Congress and Hillary would listen to ElBaradei. Every time Hillary says,”If I knew then, what I now know” all I can think is, “We knew then, why didn’t you?” The truth was available to know then, just like it’s knowable now. What game is this, anyway, the tongue is quicker than the ear? Fool you once, shame on you. Fool you twice, shame on you, AGAIN.
    Sandy… fabulous piece…. you’re the best with these links. How blessed we are to have someone like Grayson on this case. I’m still muttering, sputtering, stomping and slamming to speak, but off the top of my head, I would say it makes my case for the need for legislation prohbiting any president from appointing any of his personal attorneys to any position involving the law. The conflict of interest for any attorney having once represented the person of the Prez, and/or the VEEP, is insurmountable and impedes the course of justice to the extreme detriment of We, the People. Abu Gonzongo being the most blatant example of why not.
    Meanwhile, back in the boondocks, I’m going to have to take some Tums to digest this whole article. Looks to me like KKKBR and KKKongress have brought back slavery. Thee and me have to kick in 15% at $5,500/yr. and those poor folks snookered into getting on that big boat are getting a buck a day. This is beyond obscene.

    Reply

  16. Alan says:

    Let me get this straight. You’re recommending two books that you have not yet read, simply because you know the authors personally and agree with their politics? Classy.

    Reply

  17. Kathleen says:

    Sandy… will read the whole thing…. meanwhile, Mike Gravel on Hillary/Iran.
    From the only democratic prez candidate who said he would seek to release Leonard Peltier.
    Note to Obama and Edwards: Step-Up on Iran
    by Mike Gravel
    IÂ’m glad to see John Edwards and Barack Obama have
    finally begun to upbraid Hillary Clinton for going
    along with BushÂ’s impending attack on Iran. We
    presidential candidates must keep raising this story because the mainstream media is not doing its job,once again. Two weeks ago, Seymour Hersh exposed the PentagonÂ’s plans to attack Iran, but the MSM failed to follow up with a sustained inquiry. We presidential candidates must pick up the slack and constantly alert the American public that Bush, Clinton and the go-along Congressional Dems are leading us into another disastrous war.
    Despite what Hillary claims, Congress gave Bush the green light to attack Iran when they labeled the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG) a terrorist
    organization. Bush can now attack the IRG as a
    counter-terrorism measure. All he needs is a “Gulf of Tonkin incident” in Iraq that can be tied to the IRG, and he will begin bombing IRG facilities in Iran. Of course Bush will disregard Hillary’s resolution demanding he check with Congress before attacking Iran. No president since James Polk has felt the need to check with Congress before “defending” American troops.
    What makes Hillary believe a congressional resolution will prevent Bush from doing anything? A war on Iran has been a neocon dream for decades and Bush sees himself as a modern-day messiah ridding the world of evil-doers. Throughout his presidency, Bush has consistently disregarded checks and balances. He defied a Supreme Court decision banning torture simply by ordering his Justice Department to secretly issue a go-ahead. (The MSM also dropped this story.)
    After Bush launches the planned strikes on the IRG, Iran will hit our naval forces in the Persian Gulf and our troops in Iraq. Within an afternoon, we will be at war. Bush might later ask our rubberstamp Congress for a show of support. But by then any opposition will be
    moot. The Iranian navy will cut the oil supply of the European economies and a worldwide depression will hit American markets. Other regional powers, including Saudi Arabia and Israel, might be drawn into the war. Within weeks tens of thousands will be dead and thatÂ’s only the beginning.
    We presidential candidates must do our best to avoid this tragedy by bringing it up constantly. And itÂ’s not enough for my fellow candidates just to challenge Bush and Hillary out on the stump. They must join me in challenging her directly during the debates.
    If we immediately and consistently inform the American public what their government is up to, I believe we have a shot at stopping this war. Without any sort of public outcry, we are most certainly heading for disaster.
    –Senator Mike Gravel
    I think Hillary’s poll numbers will sink when people realize what this resolution really means. Does anyone know the exact date that the Uran resolution vote in the Senate happened? I’m curious to know if recent polls showing a Hillary surge were completed before or after this vote.

    Reply

  18. Sandy says:

    BTW, the paragraphs I have quoted from Rose’s article may seem disjointed. I chose …and left behind….certain ones….so the above isn’t a smooth read.
    HOWEVER, the entire article (available at the link) is, I believe, a must-read. Then these selected paras. will make more sense.
    I’ll be interested to hear what you think….

    Reply

  19. Sandy says:

    Carroll, POA, Kathleen, et al….I URGE YOU TO READ the following; it’s long, I admit, but you really must:
    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/11/halliburton200711?printable=true&currentPage=all
    VANITY FAIR, November 2007
    THE PEOPLE VS. THE PROFITEERS
    Americans working in Iraq for Halliburton spin-off KBR have been outraged by the massive fraud they saw there. Dozens are suing the giant military contractor, on the taxpayers’ behalf. Whose side is the Justice Department on?
    by David Rose November 2007
    Here are some selected….eye-opening….passages:
    “…One such purpose might be to shield from view the monumental scale of U.S. military contracting in Iraq and elsewhere, and the size of the flaws associated with it. The Department of Defense is easily the biggest federal agency, with a budget that has ballooned more than 90 percent since 2000, to about $460 billion this year. Much of that increase has been spent on private contracting, which rose from $106 billion in 2000 to $297 billion in 2006.
    KBR’s Iraq logistics contract was awarded in December 2001, almost a year and a half before the war started. By August 2007 the company had received about $25 billion from the D.O.D., and the funds continue to roll in at a rate of more than $400 million a month. KBR builds America’s bases and trucks in soldiers’ food, cooks their meals, washes their laundry, and provides their gyms and Internet connections. When the Pentagon decided to outsource the repair of military communications equipment, this too was assigned to KBR. Soon, as Grayson points out, there will be no one left in the U.S. Army who knows how to fix a radio. This profound shift of duties from the military to private companies was supposed to save the government money, and it is an uncomfortable political fact that it has instead triggered a free-for-all of fraud and waste.
    At the same time, the Bush administration has special sensitivities to claims concerning KBR and its former parent company, Halliburton. Dick Cheney’s deep connection with the firm is well established. It is less widely known that former attorney general Alberto Gonzales, the Cabinet member who headed the Justice Department until August, when he was forced to resign, also has long-standing links with both Halliburton and its legal counsel, the venerable Texas firm of Vinson & Elkins.
    Grayson says that all the qui tam suits he has filed against Halliburton and KBR have been defended by attorneys from V&E. In 1982 it was V&E that gave Gonzales his first job as a lawyer….
    …Whatever the government’s reason for keeping the qui tam cases under seal, its secrecy has so far obscured the true picture of alleged fraud in Iraq. For now, only slivers of the whole are visible—thanks to the handful of cases that have been opened to scrutiny.
    …”In my mind, one of the basic reasons, maybe even the basic reason, why the war has gone badly is war profiteering,” says Grayson. “You could say that the only people who have benefited from the invasion of Iraq are al-Qaeda, Iran, and Halliburton. America has spent so much money that we literally could have hired every single adult Iraqi and it would have cost less than what it has cost to conduct this war through U.S. military forces and contractors.”
    …In Grayson’s view, a nightmare combination of jacked-up bids, waste, kickbacks, and inflated subcontracts means that as much as half the value of every contract he has seen “ends up being fraudulent in one way or another.” He adds, “Cumulatively, the amount that’s been spent on contractors in the four-plus years of the war is now over $100 billion. Pick any number between 10 percent and 50 percent—I don’t think you can seriously argue that the scale of the fraud is less than 10 percent. Either way, you’re talking cumulatively about something between $10 and $50 billion.”
    …Indeed, in February, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform got the news from Pentagon auditors that contractors in Iraq had claimed at least $10 billion—three times more than previous official estimates—in expenditures that were either unreasonably high or unsupported by proper documentation. Of this amount, $2.7 billion had been billed to the government by KBR….
    …The first logcap contract dates back to 1992, when Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney paid Brown and Root, as KBR was then known, to devise a contract for providing overseas support services to the military. Under federal law, a firm that designs a contract is prohibited from bidding for it, but this regulation was ignored, and B&R bid for and won logcap 1. (More than a decade later, the rules were breached again when Halliburton designed and then won the $2 billion contract to restore Iraq’s oil industry.) Three years after logcap 1 was awarded, Cheney, who had no business experience, became C.E.O. of B&R’s parent company, Halliburton, where he would collect some $44 million in earnings….
    … in the fall of 2001, when the Pentagon was about to decide which of several rival corporations should be awarded the new logcap 3. The contract promised to be extremely lucrative: after 9/11, war was looming, and big foreign deployments seemed inevitable. Somehow, KBR’s record of wasting government money was overlooked….
    …One reason may have been KBR’s shrewd strategy of employing former government regulators. Tom Quigley, Bunny Greenhouse’s predecessor as civilian procurement chief of the Army Corps of Engineers, went on to become KBR’s logcap procurement director in Iraq. Still more senior was Chuck Dominy, who had been a three-star general with the Army Corps when Cheney hired him, at Halliburton, in 1996. When it came time to award logcap 3, Dominy was Halliburton’s vice president for government affairs and chief Washington lobbyist. (KBR denies courting government favor through its hiring practices.)
    …Although Cheney was by then vice president, he still owned substantial stock options and was receiving deferred salary payments from Halliburton, which have totaled more than $946,000 during his first five years in office….
    …G.A.O. reports on contracting in Iraq describe a state of affairs that borders on the surreal. According to one document, issued in December 2006, the Army Materiel Command—the division that assigned logcap and is responsible for cutting KBR’s checks—was “unable to readily provide [the G.A.O.] with comprehensive information on the number of contractors they were using at deployed locations or the services those contractors were providing to U.S. forces….”
    …The D.O.J.’s stifling of fraud claims against the big contracting companies is all the more curious in light of its willingness to prosecute individuals for offenses including bribery and embezzlement. Eight people who worked under logcap are being investigated for such crimes…..”
    THE DEMOCRATS WILL HAVE TO ANSWER — AS WELL AS THE REPUBLICANS — FOR WHY THEY HAVE ALLOWED THESE CRIMES TO GO UNACCOUNTED FOR….AND UNPUNISHED.
    IMPEACHMENT IS “OFF THE TABLE”??? They must be profiting, too, then, don’t you think? While the U.S. has gone TRILLIONS of DOLLARS into debt! To China, et al! Making us more and more vulnerable…. These are HIGH CRIMES!

    Reply

  20. Carroll says:

    Posted by Reference Librarian at October 16, 2007 04:44 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I don’t need to be credible to you. I’am not runing for any office.
    That’s why it’s so easy for me to point out the contridictions, double backs, babble speak and “on the other hands” of Hillary…and the others.
    However your post reminds me why I am in favor of I.Q. test for voters.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “On the other hand, if Iran is in fact willing to end its nuclear weapons program…blablah blah…”
    WHAT “NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM”????
    I am so sick of this shit! When are these SOBs going to start leveling with the American people? Do they think we’re idiots?

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  22. JohnH says:

    Referenece Librarian: Hillary would be much more credible if she listened to Mohammed El Baradei, who said that “based on the work of IAEA inspectors in Iran I have made it very clear that I don’t see today a clear and present danger in regard to the Iran nuclear program.”
    El Baradei also said that, “I hope everybody would have gotten the lesson after the Iraq situation when we see a drama unfolding every day,” adding “hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have lost their lives on the suspicion that a country had nuclear weapons.”
    Instead, Hillary chooses to hype the totally unsubstantiated claims of an Iranian nuclear threat, and votes to label part of the Iranian government a terrorist organization, a move that could enable Bush to attack without further debate. After her stupid Iraq vote, her Iran vote doesn’t show her inexperience, instead it shows she doesn’t learn from experience.

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  23. Reference Librarian says:

    Carroll you might be a trifle more credible if you quoted the concluding sentences from that paragraph:
    “On the other hand, if Iran is in fact willing to end its nuclear weapons program, renounce sponsorship of terrorism, support Middle East peace, and play a constructive role in stabilizing Iraq, the United States should be prepared to offer Iran a carefully calibrated package of incentives. This will let the Iranian people know that our quarrel is not with them but with their government and show the world that the United States is prepared to pursue every diplomatic option.”
    Clinton is on the record that she would engage in unconditional negotiations with Iran. She said “”I would engage in negotiations with Iran, with no conditions, because we don’t really understand how Iran works. We think we do, from the outside, but I think that is misleading.” Among the usual suspects advising Senator Clinton, John, are General Wesley Clark (http://www.stopiranwar.com/) and Vali Nasr, a leading expert on Shia politics, who called for broad engagement with Iran in “When Shiites Rise” Foreign Affairs July August 2006.
    Should have included the quotes.

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  24. Reference Librarian says:

    Carroll you might be a trifle more credible if you quoted the concluding sentences from that paragraph:
    On the other hand, if Iran is in fact willing to end its nuclear weapons program, renounce sponsorship of terrorism, support Middle East peace, and play a constructive role in stabilizing Iraq, the United States should be prepared to offer Iran a carefully calibrated package of incentives. This will let the Iranian people know that our quarrel is not with them but with their government and show the world that the United States is prepared to pursue every diplomatic option.
    Clinton is on the record that she would engage in unconditional negotiations with Iran. She said “”I would engage in negotiations with Iran, with no conditions, because we don’t really understand how Iran works. We think we do, from the outside, but I think that is misleading.” Among the usual suspects advising Senator Clinton, John, are General Wesley Clark (http://www.stopiranwar.com/) and Vali Nasr, a leading expert on Shia politics, who called for broad engagement with Iran in “When Shiites Rise” Foreign Affairs July August 2006.

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  25. JohnH says:

    Once again Hillary is just spewing strategy babble, scripted by the usual suspects. And where exactly on her resume is her track record of success in dealing with international issues, or anything for that matter?

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  26. Carroll says:

    Snip from Hillary’s essay on foreign affairs.
    “The next president will be the first to inherit two wars, a long-term campaign against global terrorist networks, and growing tension with Iran as it seeks to acquire nuclear weapons. The United States will face a resurgent Russia whose future orientation is uncertain and a rapidly growing China that must be integrated into the international system. Moreover, the next administration will have to confront an unpredictable and dangerous situation in the Middle East that threatens Israel and could potentially bring down the global economy by disrupting oil supplies. Finally, the next president will have to address the looming long-term threats of climate change and a new wave of global health epidemics.
    The case in point is Iran. Iran poses a long-term strategic challenge to the United States, our NATO allies, and Israel. It is the country that most practices state-sponsored terrorism, and it uses its surrogates to supply explosives that kill U.S. troops in Iraq. The Bush administration refuses to talk to Iran about its nuclear program, preferring to ignore bad behavior rather than challenge it. Meanwhile, Iran has enhanced its nuclear-enrichment capabilities, armed Iraqi Shiite militias, funneled arms to Hezbollah, and subsidized Hamas, even as the government continues to hurt its own citizens by mismanaging the economy and increasing political and social repression.
    As a result, we have lost precious time. Iran must conform to its nonproliferation obligations and must not be permitted to build or acquire nuclear weapons. If Iran does not comply with its own commitments and the will of the international community, all options must remain on the table.”
    Go to foreignaffairs.org to read the entire 8 pages.
    Prince Duba got the Iraq wur, Queen Rat gets the Iran wur. One wur per president.
    The rest is about the same as Obama’s “visions”…the US will rule the wor$d, enrich everyone, cure poverty and aids, eliminate all evildoers afer talking to them and pronnouncing they can’t be reasoned with, and once again re$gn supreme.

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  27. JohnH says:

    More on Bush’s uncanny ability to be a uniter, not a divider (of the opposition, that is):
    “As far as all the key Sunni and Shi’ite factions in Iraq are concerned, they all agree on the basics. Iraq won’t be occupied. Iraq won’t hold permanent US military bases. Iraq won’t give up its oil wealth. And Iraq won’t be a toothless pro-Israel puppet regime.”
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IJ17Ak03.html
    Ordinary Iraqis also realize that they have a “vital strategic interest” in making sure they get to develop and market that energy in a way that maximizes their national income. Once again Bush has bitten the hand that must feed the West’s supersized appetite for energy.

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  28. b says:

    What are you hearing about an immanent Turkish incursion into Iraq targeting the PKK?

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  29. JohnH says:

    “Instead of dividing our enemies by negotiating with Iran, the Bush administration has united them.” In case anyone had any doubt, today’s visit of Putin to Tehran should convince them. Russia and Iran sit atop an enormous percentage of the world’s natural gas, the natural complement to increasingly precious oil in driving future economic growth. And these countries have a “vital strategic interest” in making sure they get to develop and market that energy in a way that maximizes their income.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6862
    But wait, it gets worse. Not merely content to alienate our enemies, Bush has decided to bite the hands that feed the US, Japan and Europe. Iraq has been destroyed. Iran is a target. Relations with Russia and Venezuela suck. And vital gas transportation corridors are all moving outside of the US/European sphere of influence. To avoid complex, multi-lateral pipeline negotiations, Caspian and Persian Gulf gas must flow through Turkey or Russia to Europe, Kazakhstan to China, and Iran or Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean. Anyone see any friends on that list? Even Turkey, a traditionally reliable friend, is getting wobbly and may soon realize its awesome geopolitical position and start to exploit it.
    Bush’s pre-emptive war and bullying behavior has done nothing to endear us to any of these vital players, none of whom want to be dominated. And to make matters worse, the game is being played on the opposition’s home field.
    Funny how elite “foreign policy experts” never manage to succintly explain the basic and obvious geopolitical facts of life. Oh right, that would require admitting that our foreign policy is driven by commercial interest, not by noble causes like freedom and democracy.

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  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And the Israelis have nothing to do with the equation, I gather?

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  31. Frank says:

    Curiously, Colin Powell is not mentioned once in your piece. That absence speaks volumns about the competentcy of that growingly silent enigma..

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  32. Chuck Dupree says:

    True, our current problems with Iran were self-inflicted. But then in a way so were our problems with Iran uring President Carter’s administration. As much as I admire him as a person, as President he declared our friendship with the Shah, and suffered for it.
    And of course it all really goes back to Mossadegh, or however we transliterate it nowadays.
    As a fan of Fernand Braudel, I don’t see how we can expect to understand what’s going on if we leave out significant portions of the context.
    Perhaps this is why we’ve chosen to spend our money on prisons rather than schools.

    Reply

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