Saturday, August 2, 2008

Taking Care of Business, Part 1

We begin with a quote from The Highjacking of a Nation, Part 2: The Auctioning of Former Statesmen & Dime a Dozen Generals by Sibel Edmonds, November 29, 2006:

The foreign influence, the lobbyists, the current highly positioned civil servants who are determined future 'wanna be' lobbyists, and the fat cats of the Military Industrial Complex, operate successfully under the radar, with unlimited reach and power, with no scrutiny, while selling your interests, benefiting from your tax money, and serving the highest bidders regardless of what or who they may be. This deep state seems to operate at all levels of our government; from the President's office to Congress, from the military quarters to the civil servants' offices.

That quote pertains to the Sibel Edmonds case and thus, you are certain, to corruption in the United States.

But, the United States has allies -- close allies, with whom we coordinate our foreign policy and defense efforts, with whom we share intelligence and technology.

Don't for a moment think that these allies are immune to the kind of treasonous corruption and obstruction of justice that characterize the Sibel Edmonds case.

From An Interview with Sibel Edmonds, Page Two by Chris Deliso, July 1, 2004:

CD: [snip] At several points you state that such organized crime networks employ "semi-legitimate organizations" as their point of interface with governments and the "legit" world. Can you explain exactly what you mean?

SE: These are organizations that might have a legitimate front -- say as a business, or a cultural center or something. And we've also heard a lot about Islamic charities as fronts for terrorist organizations, but the range is much broader and even, simpler.

CD: For example?

SE: You might have an organization supposed to be promoting the cultural affairs of a certain country within another country. Hypothetically, say, an Uzbek folklore society based in Germany. The stated purpose would be to hold folklore-related activities -- and they might even do that -- but the real activities taking place behind the scenes are criminal.

CD: Such as?

SE: Everything -- from drugs to money laundering to arms sales. And yes, there are certain convergences with all these activities and international terrorism.

CD: So with these organizations we're talking about a lot of money --

SE: Huge, just massive. They don't deal with 1 million or 5 million dollars, but with hundreds of millions.

Hundreds of millions? Think bigger...

...a whole lot bigger....

Money is the fuel for corruption, and corruption -- not poverty, injustice or hopelessness -- is the enabler for terrorism.

From Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Calls Current 9/11 Investigation Inadequate by Jim Hogue, May 07, 2004:

JH: Can you explain more about what money you are talking about?

SE: The most significant information that we were receiving did not come from counter-terrorism investigations, and I want to emphasize this. It came from counter-intelligence, and certain criminal investigations, and issues that have to do with money laundering operations.

You get to a point where it gets very complex, where you have money laundering activities, drug related activities, and terrorist support activities converging at certain points and becoming one. In certain points -- and they [the intelligence community] are separating those portions from just the terrorist activities. And, as I said, they are citing "foreign relations" which is not the case, because we are not talking about only governmental levels. And I keep underlining semi-legit organizations and following the money. When you do that the picture gets grim. It gets really ugly.

From Judgment Approved by the court for handing down in the UK's BAE Case:

Lord Justice Moses:


1. This is the judgment of the Court.

2. Between 30 July 2004 and 14 December 2006 a team of Serious Fraud Office lawyers, accountants, financial investigators and police officers carried out an investigation into allegations of bribery by BAE Systems plc (BAE) in relation to the Al-Yamamah military aircraft contracts with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On 14 December 2006 the Director of the Serious Fraud Office announced that he was ending the SFO's investigation.

3. In October 2005 BAE sought to persuade the Attorney General and the SFO to stop the investigation on the grounds that its continued investigation would be contrary to the public interest: it would adversely affect relations between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia and prevent the United Kingdom securing what it described as the largest export contract in the last decade. Despite representations from Ministers, the Attorney General and the Director stood firm. The investigation continued throughout the first half of 2006.

4. In July 2006 the SFO was about to obtain access to Swiss bank accounts. The reaction of those described discreetly as "Saudi representatives" was to make a specific threat to the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell: if the investigation was not stopped, there would be no contract for the export of Typhoon aircraft and the previous close intelligence and diplomatic relationship would cease.

5. Ministers advised the Attorney General and the Director that if the investigation continued those threats would be carried out; the consequences would be grave, both for the arms trade and for the safety of British citizens and service personnel. In the light of what he regarded as the grave risk to life, if the threat was carried out, the Director decided to stop the investigation.

6. The defendant in name, although in reality the Government, contends that the Director was entitled to surrender to the threat. The law is powerless to resist the specific and, as it turns out, successful attempt by a foreign government to pervert the course of justice in the United Kingdom, by causing the investigation to be halted. The court must, so it is argued, accept that whilst the threats and their consequences are "a matter of regret", they are a "part of life".

7. So bleak a picture of the impotence of the law invites at least dismay, if not outrage. The danger of so heated a reaction is that it generates steam; this obscures the search for legal principle. The challenge, triggered by this application, is to identify a legal principle which may be deployed in defence of so blatant a threat. However abject the surrender to that threat, if there is no identifiable legal principle by which the threat may be resisted, then the court must itself acquiesce in the capitulation.

And, on the other side of "The Pond":

Then there is the issue of terrorism financing. It is no secret that large sums of money flow from Saudi Arabia to bad people and organizations all over the world. And as with all things Saudi, the picture of government's response has been mixed. They have signed the U.N. International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism, but haven't ratified it. They have announced that a single-government entity, the Non-Government Commission on Relief and Charity Work Abroad, would be formed to control overseas charitable activities, but it hasn't been established yet.

They have established new rules and regulations regarding money laundering and financial transfers, but they have yet to prosecute any prominent Saudis accused of violating these laws, as Under Secretary of the Treasury, Stuart Levey, reminded us last week.

So on to this Jackson Pollock-like canvas of strategic convergence. The tactical disagreement, the Bush administration has splattered a $20 billion arms deal. Under the best-case scenario, this deal has significant merit. But what is the likelihood of the best-case scenario?

To be frank, I view arms deals with a great deal of skepticism. The recipient certainly welcomes the arms, but I don't think they love or respect us in the morning after the sale.

In this series, we shall examine the actions of those who sell out their country to the highest bidder, even though that "highest bidder" enables, encourages and supports terrorism against the country being sold out. Among other things, we will look at the UK's BAE scandal.

And we should bear in mind that this is intimately related to the subject matter addressed in my other ongoing series, The Sword of Allah.

Hat tip to my email tipster.

1 comment:

anticant said...

As you've already said, YD, it's the normal way of "business" in many parts of the Middle East. The following comment which appeared on a 'Guardian' CiF thread makes this clear:

"If you work for certain corporations, one of which was a previous employer of mine, you are taught that in certain (most) countries, bribery is a norm, whether directly fiscal or certain 'gifts'. Corporations therefore work within this standard and implement policies to deal with it and accounting practises that conceal or disguise it. Individual enrichment at the expense of the state or a portion of it is the result, and the corporation gives away a small percentage of its profits accrued from the deal.

Saudi Arabia is corrupt in this way. Most connected individuals there have a lot of money, but of course that does not prevent them wanting more, or wanting yachts, villas, ranches etc. What they don't want is their greed or sleaze being exposed to the world at large, particularly their own religious community that exists in uneasy alliance with profligate useless sub-royalty. If a relatively less corrupt country like Britain blows the whistle on corporate practises of a big player like BAE, the representative of the Saudi royalty, in this case Prince Bandar will threaten and cajole, and eventually take his money elsewhere. End result will be loss of money for shareholders of BAE, loss of a couple of hundred jobs, loss of legal bribes paid to Government sycophants and most importantly, loss of money for a few mega-rich Brits and Americans. It's not terrorism, oil or honesty, it's money."