Hil[l]arious US Politics: What We Now Know?
By Farooque Chowdhury
29 May, 2015
A lot about US politics is unknown to ordinary citizens. It’s difficult to understand by commoners. A lot of connections, custom, cast inside and outside of the political arena there make the politics complex to comprehend.
However, a bit of it is known as years passed by. Scandals, and whistle blowing courage helped widen ordinary citizens’ knowledge about the old democracy. The famous gates – Watergate, Irangate, the WMD in Iraq or, it may be named, WIraqD (weapon for Iraq-destruction), the ballot paper-case have added a few more information to the small area of commoners’ knowledge about politics in the economy.
In the Wikileakage or Snowdenage, it’s difficult to hide all facts. Facts unveil faces of mystery.
It’s known, as Sean Braswell writes in “The 10 Most Successful White House Staffers”, (OZY, December 6, 2013), one high official was advised to exact revenge upon Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer-winning New York Times reporter, for a story he wrote on classified US Navy missions in Soviet waters. That was in 1975. By that time, Hersh made him a “bad” guy for exposure of the infamous My Lai massacre, the genocide-like act in Vietnam. No reader should feel disturbed with the revenge-plan as this is part of a sort of politics in the developed democracy.
It’s also known, Sean Braswell writes (op. cit.), one official rebuked three GOP Congress female members “pushing ‘equal pay for equal work’” for women. To the official, the notion of “equal pay for equal work” for women was synonymous to socialism: “a radical redistributive concept. Their slogan may as well be, ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to her gender.’” The official expressed his mind in a February 20, 1984-memo. This type of officials is part of the political mechanism in the democracy.
Another official advised Nixon to burn the White House tapes during Watergate. (ibid.) Was that a notorious advice? That was part of politics there. Nixon’s political-destiny was decided.
These facts should “not” make one smile about politics in the land or one should not get scared with the acts, advices and assumptions. Despite all these acts the democracy possesses the power to advise others. The democracy is a powerful political system with a lot of crook plans. Moreover, shouldn’t those old, unloved facts of revenge and burning “lie” in grave? That’s the “civilized” way. Life is always fresh and vibrant. Political life is no exception. Isn’t it?
There are claims that during the ‘90s, the most powerful house in that country, and the executive branch of that state were “turned into a giant yard sale”. Claims have also been made that sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom, joining foreign trade trips, permission to export of classified missile technology to China were sold out. The buyers provided cash for election campaign. There are allegations of bribery.
The race to US presidential election is provoking fresh facts to raise their heads. As the race to enter the most powerful building in the democracy is gaining speed exposure of strange-looking facts are also moving fast. These are widening commoners’ knowledge about politics in the old democracy. That’s the problem as these facts are making the democracy a laughingstock.
Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash presents a few facts of payments by dignitaries from other countries to an influential foundation, favors from a government department, exorbitant speaking fees. That was “a pattern of financial transactions involving” members of a family. The family members were powerful enough to influence a state policy, which could favorably benefit “those providing the funds”. The donors ensured deals in Canada, Colombia, Haiti. These informal deals shouldn’t annoy anyone as these are provisions of bourgeois politics.
There are “stories”:
Multimillion-dollar gift by a politician from a Third World country to a charity foundation that coincided with a senator’s reversal on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; a secretary of state involved in allowing the transfer of nearly 50 percent of US domestic uranium output to one of its competitors, benefiting donors to the charity foundation; multimillion-dollar contracts for Haiti disaster relief awarded to donors and friends of the charity foundation; a former president receiving large payments for speeches from foreign businesses and governments with matters pending before a government department; a power couple’s visit to Colombia, which was followed by the grant of logging rights to a Canadian billionaire, also a top donor to the charity; a former president receiving $2 million for speeches from the largest shareholder in the Keystone Pipeline project while another powerful politician playing a role in approving the project. The stories are spread over continents: from Germany to Bangladesh to Colombia to India to Indonesia to Kazakhstan to Canada.
One story tells:
A former president flies to a Third World country, spends time in company of a businessman, a “close personal friend”, a deal —usually to exploit natural resources including uranium, oil, or timber, on a large and highly profitable scale – is made, and this is followed by contributions, by the beneficiaries of the deal, to a charity foundation, and the former president is commissioned to deliver a series of highly paid speeches.
Bangladesh finds a place in the deal-map. A report said: A diplomat to Bangladesh pushed one Bangladesh high official to allow open pit mining including in the Phulbari Mines. Incidents preceded the push, and there was a high stake.
There is at least a story of telling lie. A former president lied about hosting a meeting at his home, and the meeting was attended by nuclear officials from another country.
Many stories crowd politics in the democracy. Well-known are the facts of meetings between human-rights abusers and leaders of the democracy although the democracy preaches human rights.
Another story tells:
Two persons pleaded guilty to making millions of dollars in illegal campaign donations to one candidate’s presidential campaigns in '92 and '96. The donations were followed by favorable trade deals for the persons’ Jakarta-based business group.
The third story tells:
A CEO of a company engaged with space and communications business was a big donor. After election, the CEO got the president sign a waiver letting the company use Chinese rockets to launch US satellites. The deal transferred secret missile technology to China, and helped the emerging military power improve accuracy of its Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles.
There’s another story:
One convicted donor to a presidential campaign made more than 50 visits to the most powerful house in the democracy. During one of the visits in 1995, the campaign donor handed a high official a check for $50,000 in her office.
A possible gold mine in Haiti has exposed a few connections to power. That was also a power of connection – a highly-placed kin, a deal, dinner. Corruption? “No”. Destruction of environment? “No”. Was “not” that a simple business deal? Does a few Haitians’ demonstration protesting the gold mine deal “matter” in big business? Is not there a golden prospect?
Undisclosed accounts, transfer of money from one account to another – an amazing, if not mischievous, act, a secret shell company, connections between donations to charity and armaments sales are getting exposed. Sponsors of the lectures included armament producer/supplier/buyer. There was private email account for official correspondence. There were persons raising money for politicians, businesses and charities, connections to billionaire investor and a close friend of a politician. There is a shadow of lining of private pocket by using public office.
Do these sound a poor-world patronage- or corruption-story? What’s the problem with business-politics, corruption-politics and trade-power connections in the poor-world? Doesn’t at least a group of poor-world politicians need money? They need money to survive and to plunder more. So they trade political power. And, ultimately, they are simply satraps in the world system.
In both the worlds – the rich-world and the poor-world – political power trades business, contracts, procurements, projects. And, there’s “no” problem with preaching of democracy while the trades go on as democracy-preaching “don’t” require moral standing. It “only” requires power.
Libya-debacle-debate in the election race is exposing a few more delicacies in the democracy. There were foreign influence-peddling or adventure to cash in on post-war Libyan spoils, corruption, non-official person preparing dozens of “intelligence” memos.
There were, in brief, “intelligence” coming from associates seeking business contracts from the Libyan transitional government, involvement of friends that included a private military contractor and a former spy “seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy”, planned business venture in Libya, a retired major general joining a newly formed New York firm to pursue business in Libya, a company planning to put “boots on the ground to see if there was an opportunity to do business”, “Qaddafi is dead, or about to be, and there’s opportunities” – dreams, a trader signing a memorandum of understanding with two senior officials in the LTG to provide “humanitarian assistance, medical services and disaster mitigation,” along with helping to train a new national police force, seeking projects in Libya including a proposal to create the floating hospitals, intrigues by foreign governments and rebel factions. These are not jotted down points for a novel. These are exposed parts of the Libya-“Democracy”-Plan.
Now the Libya-issue is turning transparent: The Libya policy was influenced by lucrative projects in that oil-rich country.
Probably, Transparency International at central level will come out with a report as the conscience-like organization has to keep its conscience clean. At least the US office of the guardian of conscience will issue a report. Isn’t it a moral question? Otherwise, the organization teaching right and wrong will stand as a stooge.
Explanations behind R2P in Libya, humanitarian aid there, democracy in the country, tense diplomacy and Security Council motion, no-fly zone, use of combatants and non-combatants, boots on the ground or only bombing debate, secret deployment of special service forces, the trans-Atlantic military entente, use of European military airfields to bomb the land, and deaths of Libyans and destruction of the country are not needed now as those are the toll the poor-world always pays. Doesn’t history support the assertion?
Does someone stand like a fool with the exposure of the acts – the libations of imperialist power? Are not those gentlemen supporting destruction-for-democracy in Libya respected fellows? They always swiftly re-wear their honorable mask, and the commoners salute them and listen to their sermons. The dignified personalities are not liars despite all the lies exposed. They are great teachers.
And, none will question them. The souls of the dead Libyans? They’ll not come back to question. The posterity? Mechanism is there to purchase them, or to keep them busy with trifling business or games, or to spoil them. The world-people? Have not they been depoliticized, demobilized, de-theorized? Have not their leadership been kept busy with other tasks?
All after these the old democracy preaches “democracy” to the countries in the resource-rich poor-world. But exposed facts are exposing the shameless “democracy” preachers, and commoners are learning a few facts of the bourgeois politics. It’s, in ultimate analysis, money: contract, deal, business, supply, procurement, project, trade, and with that money purchase property, be a member of the billionaires’ club. This lesson of bourgeois politics is undeniable. The perpetrators of property-politics teach this lesson, and commoners learn gradually.
Farooque Chowdhury contributes from Dhaka.
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