Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Greg Palast has a new piece about Bush family consigliere James Baker's assignment to "restructure" Iraq's foreign debt (including the debts to Baker's other client, the Saudi government).

According to Palast:
"Just last week Baker said, "I fixed the election in Florida for George Bush." That was the substance of his remarks to an audience of Russian big wigs as reported to me by my somewhat astonished colleagues at BBC television."

The truth is often stranger than fiction (and Palast's reporting is often so full of hyperbole that it can appear to border on fiction if you don't have other sources to go to for verification). Still, Baker's new errand reminds me of the moment in Godfather, Part II when Michael says that Tom Hagen "only handles specific areas of the family business."

(The other areas of business are handled by ex-cons and neocons.)
Speaking of the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy":

The American Prospect ran an interesting item in September that indicates the neocons and their war profiteering allies have all of the bases covered (or at least the DLC):

In April 2001, the Prospect reported that the DLC's magazine, Blueprint, was single-handedly financed by Loral Space & Communications Chairman and CEO Bernard L. Schwartz. "I sought them out," Schwartz told the Prospect. "I like them because the DLC gives resonance to positions on issues that perhaps candidates cannot commit to." [Why is that? Because they are so brazenly corporatist that they would violate all standards of popular appeal?]

Recently the DLC and its magazine (still principally financed by Loral) have taken the lead in bashing Democrats who opposed the war in Iraq. Now it turns out that Loral, a satellite company, has business ties with some of the most controversial neoconservative foreign-policy thinkers in the Bush administration.

In January 2001, Schwartz, according to The New York Times, retained Richard Perle to represent Loral during its ongoing efforts to settle a 1997 finding by the Pentagon that Loral had improperly given sensitive missile technologies to China. Perle continued advocating for Loral even after being appointed chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board later that year. The board was one of the strongest advocates for the war in Iraq.

Other administration officials with ties to Loral include Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, who lobbied Congress on behalf of Loral in 1998, and retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, briefly the civilian administrator in Iraq, who worked for Loral spin-off L-3 Communications. L-3 has been awarded U.S. government contracts in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

-- Talk about your networked battlefields!

According to Business Week, a good chunk of Loral is owned by Lockheed. BW reported back in March that Rumsfeld's high-tech war against Iraq was a major boost to Intelsat and others in the satellite industry, whose sagging fortunes had a lot to due with unused over-capacity. "The war in Iraq, in other words, could become far more than a shared battlefield for the military and the commercial space industry."