22 February 2008

After the fall of Trans World Commodities and its fallout

This article starts off where others have left a few loose ends, like my Red Mafia article, where the great circle of Red Mafia groups starts with a little known individual where we can ask the question: who is it that would contribute to *both* Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Hillary Rodham Clinton? That was even more interesting than: what is the connection between the incomplete Soviet CV Varyag and Hillary Rodham Clinton?

Yes, organized crime does take you in strange directions and one of the loose ends from the Red Mafia article dealt with an individual brought up in this NY Post article on the Shady 'Inn' Crowd, from 15 APR 2007:

YOU never know who owns what these days. Case in point: the Hotel Gansevoort. Arik Kislin, one of seven principals in the trendy, 187-room Meatpacking District inn, once ran a firm with ties to a suspected Moscow hit man, The Post's Dan Mangan reports. In the early 1990s, a Manhattan company called Blonde Management, of which Kislin was chairman, co-sponsored a U.S. visa sought by a Russian named Anton Malevskiy. The FBI believed Malevskiy to be a professional assassin and head of one of Moscow's leading criminal gangs, according to a 1999 article by the Center for Public Integrity, which cited an FBI report. Gansevoort flack Nancy Friedman at first denied Kislin had an ownership role in the hotel or that his name was on its liquor license, despite being told of a state agency document that shows otherwise. When we pressed for an explanation about Kislin's relationship to the hotel, Friedman said she would check with the Gansevoort's owners. But in a subsequent conversation, she suddenly clammed up, telling us, "I don't think there's going to be any response."

Last time it was Arik Kislin, and all the twists and turns of his contacts and his father's contacts and where they went to finally end up with the huge Bank of New York scandal. This time it will be the other Red Mafia suspect Anton Malevskiy and get an idea of what sort of individual Arik Kislin was trying to bring into the US. To do that I will give you a summary of a translated article at the Center for Defense Information, which came from Le Monde on 28 NOV 2002 (it is labeled for personal use only', so it will be more overview than exact quotes). It relates an interview with Dzhalol Khaydarov by Vladimir Ivanidze talking about what decided Khaydarov to break his ties with the Red Mafia in 2000.

As he was getting the OUGKM copper factories up and stable, financially, Anton Malevskiy who worked with Mikhail Chernoy and the Izmailovo group paid a visit. The Chernoy Brothers had built up the third largest aluminum production capacity in the world during the mid-1990's, only to see the structure collapse as the Brothers faced problems with the Reuben Brothers, who were running the most sophisticated set of front companies ever seen on planet Earth with all of them contained in Simon Reuben's head. That all started to come apart from the New York side as the number of transactions being processed by Peter Berlin and his wife Lucy Edwards, along with a corrupt bank manager at BoNY, started to reveal the far flung network of front companies run by Simon Reuben. This would also reveal that front companies in the US, Becs and Benex, were serving as fronts for the Semion Mogilevich YBM Magnex investment and stock market fraud system that he was running. As this started to fall apart for the Chernoys, they faced stiff competition that was buying out sections of their industrial empire. Arik Kislin, at Blond Management, was in the same office space as the Berlin couple, who would be associated with Mogilevich, but also Vyacheslav Ivankov-Yaponchik who was associated with the Solntsevskaya group and its boss Sergey Mikhaylov.

So with Malevskiy coming around, he tried to offer Khaydarov a new position with him, so he wouldn't have to associate directly with the Chernoys. Khaydarov was trying to get in contact with the FSB and MVD, but was warned about that as there had been an agreement between the Yeltsin 'family' and the Izmailovo group of the Chernoys and Roman Abramovitch. At that point in time Abramovitch and Oleg Deripaska held the majority of Izmailovo industries between them, and they were 'fronting' for the political power elite (Abramovitch) and the criminal elite (Deripaska) of Izmailovo, both working together with Yeltsin's 'group'. It is by this combination that entire files and background on criminals would 'disappear' out of the FSB and MVD archives, so as to clean out their past. By working themselves deep into the system, the criminal element becomes nearly impossible to dislodge.

Vladimir Putin, for all of his toughness, was unable to dislodge Mafia "Lieutenants" from some areas, and only if the corruption became too apparent, as with Nicholai Axionenko and the Transportation Ministry, could such a minister be dismissed. It is these 'holdovers' from the Yeltsin 'group' that were run by Abramovitch, who would also run most of the financial holdings for the group. For day-to-day work Vladimir Voloshin ran things, like oversight on Boris Berezovkiy's AVVA financial pyramid scheme, and ensured that the holdings were secured. When he couldn't Abramovitch would step in or Oleg Deripaska or Valentin Yumashev. These can be considered to be the central power of the 'Yeltsin group' as a whole, with associations to the Izmailovo group added on. Notice that Boris Yeltsin, after bringing this group together, had little to do with it and it was the group, itself, that tended to run the criminal and industrial affairs of the group.

I will extract the translation directly on the description of how money was filtered into the system:

[Ivanidze] Concretely, how is the money taken out and collected?

[Khaydarov] There are many possible systems: foreign bank accounts, stock, real estate, offshore! Everyone has their own. I set up between 50 and 100 structures for just one of us! No investigating judge can make head or tail of it. For years, my job was to get all the money to the West and into offshore companies.

[Ivanidze] Who decides to conduct a transaction in a sector or against a company?

[Khaydarov] Mikhail Chernoi, with the head of the sector in question -- Oleg Deripaska for aluminum or Iskander Makhmudov for metals -- with the involvement of local governors, like Eduard Rossel in Ekaterinburg or Aman Tuleev in Kemerovo. Then, each person carries out the plan at his particular level, as each has his own security service. For example, at Russal, you fill find a former KGB counterespionage boss, former first vice presidents of the FSB, and people who have information about state security.

This is the hand of Simon Reuben at work: the man who created 3 companies to pay his rent and had 200 people managing 300 companies across the globe in multiple countries: Dubai, Cypress, Bahamas, Grand Caymans, UK, US, Russia, Hungary, Romania, etc. This is why the BoNY investigation ground to a complete and utter halt: it was too complex to actually diagram out in a coherent manner as it was an incoherent system utilizing a coherent methodology. With multiple individuals creating their *own* groups of accounts, front companies, transfer groups, stock and real estate investment groups, etc. there is no sane or reasonable way to track how money filters through the system, but filter through it does.

By 2000 this was starting to spin apart with some of the financial infrastructure pulled up by the US, and individuals getting caught out of place, 'disappearing', allegedly dying (like Malevskiy having a sky-diving accident in S. Africa) or shifting their financial structures to more reliable systems, like Mogilevich and Firtash. After Michael Chernoy going to Israel to escape criminal prosecution, others would follow him there: Lev Levaev, Yakov Goldovskiy, Arkadi Gaydamak. But even with that, those that remain, Abramovitch, Deripaska, Firtash, Mogilevich, and others, the system itself has grown out in different and more diverse directions. Even with stiff law enforcement capabilities, the entrenched elites are very hard to dislodge and there is no guarantee that doing so will actually get them out of the way.

Now, as Oleg Deripaska is in the news, going through what he has done should prove interesting, as he is one of the richest men in Russia right now. Back over at CDI, there is a cached article from Washington Profile by Dmitry Sidorov, DEC 15 2005, looking at the trip of Aleksandr Voloshin and Oleg Deripaska to Washington. And while foreign relations were a bit on the rough side, near the end of the article comes this bit:

I received several tips from unnamed sources on how Deripaska managed to get into the country, despite the U.S.’s longtime suspicion that the owner of Russian Aluminum (RusAl) has been involved in money laundering operations, among other illegal activities.

One source, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Deripaska’s visa problems were resolved during President Putin’s 16 October meeting with President Bush. In a 55-minute-long conversation at the White House, the two leaders spent about 10 minutes discussing the oligarch.


If it were Putin and Bush who decided his fate, as my source (a member of the U.S.-Russian business community) stated, then the reason for the U.S.’s change of heart becomes a bit clearer. Namely, the source thinks that the oligarch’s sale of two Russian factories to America’s aluminum giant Alcoa for $257 million could have served as a good bet placed against his visa issue discussion.

This last observation is in complete harmony with an assessment made by a Washington expert who said that after building good relations with Moscow and Washington, Deripaska was able to get the visa and fly to Washington to promote a new image of Russian businessmen not involved in politics.

That's right, President Bush saw into Putin's soul and missed the organized crime ties. At the time Oleg Deripaska was only worth in the neighborhood of $20 billion, so a 1% loss, to him, is what we would call 'pocket change'. He would also marry a daughter of Boris Yeltsin's and start a new company, Basic Element, in an attempt to help cement his place in the Russian pecking order (Source: The Star, 11 MAY 2007). But perhaps it wasn't just President Bush and Vladimir Putin getting along well together. A Human Events article on 18 SEP 2007 by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen look at the other way that one can get into the good graces of the powers-that-be in DC:

The U.S. government has denied Deripaska's entry to the country for more than 10 years. In 2005, after paying $560,000 to former Senator Robert Dole and his law firm, Alston & Bird, Deripaska secured a multiple-entry visa and visited the U.S. several times. His visits ended abruptly in July2006, when the U.S. government revoked his visa.

Part of that, the reason Deripaska would have his visa pulled from the US after a court case in the UK brought by Chernoy against Deripaska revealed some of the inner workings of their holdings (Source: Mineweb). And the Human Events article expands on that reason:

The multi-billionaire Deripaska is currently embroiled in hot debate with his London investment bankers, including Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse. At issue is Rusal's proposed initial public offering (IPO), which Deripaska hopes can raise at least $30 billion on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and other European markets.

However, Rusal must first resolve the 20% ownership claim of Michael Cherney, an Israeli industrialist who has sued Deripaska in London's High Court for payment of some $6 billion -- and presented substantial evidence, including two 2001 trust agreements, signed by Deripaska, promising to pay.

Meanwhile, Deripaska has secretly circulated in London, Frankfurt and Edinburgh, unregistered and unpublished offering statements for the IPO. All traces of a private meeting on Friday, June 30 at Trinity House in the City of London, for example, were "carefully wiped, except for two umbrellas left behind with the Trinity House porter," wrote John Helmer in Mineweb. on July 3, 2007.

Although the U.K. lacks laws comparable to the U.S. racketeers Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Britain's Financial Services Authority has reportedly assigned a special unit to investigate Cherney's High Court evidence against UCRusal. The FSA has yet to provide a detailed response to our inquiry.

Rusal's investment bankers have refused to comment, either declining to answer or ignoring our questions all together. But they are reportedly sniping at one another over the terms of the increasingly problematic Rusal offering.

To succeed, Rusal apparently needs a statement from outgoing Russian president Vladimir Putin, assuring investors that Russia will not repatriate the aluminum giant after the offering. That is highly unlikely considering the Putin's nationalization campaign, which has already lassoed major operations of several international companies, most recently, BP's Kovytka natural gas production field, worth an estimated $20 billion.

Ah, yes, needing to first work out that 20% ownership *and* get a guarantee from an outgoing President that the *next* President won't nationalize your investment. Little things in life, no? Still he had the consolation prize of being the richest man from Russia and a nice visit in London with Abramovich to help cement their #1 and #2 positions (Source: The Guardian (UK), 24 FEB 2007), plus having rebuilt the old Trans World Commodities aluminum business back to being the third largest after Alcoa and Alcan, under its RusAl name. And Abramovich had a 25% share in that, so it must all be going well in the money-making business (Source: Russia Blog, 26 DEC 2006). At the end of April 2007, the final merger of the Tajikistan aluminum company TadAz would be complete, making RusAl the largest aluminum producer in the world (Source: Mineweb, 28 APR 2007). By the end of 2007, the Basic Element group was looking to stand up if it could get a go-ahead from the Russian anti-monopoly bureau, which decided to put off a decision until sometime early this year (Source: Kremlin, Inc, from Dartmouth, 20 DEC 2007).

It is worth taking a look at the Mineweb article of 28 APR 2007, as it gives a bit more of a look at what the Reubens were trying to do so as to get *back* the corporate empire that they had lost to Deripaska:

The terms are all sealed, and the beneficiaries don't talk. Lawyers, public records, and sources close to Deripaska and inside Rusal confirm, however, that the Zhivilo brothers were paid about $65 million; they had controlled the Novokuznetsk smelter before Deripaska, but then failed to win jurisdiction in a US court for their claim. Anatoly Bykov, controlling shareholder of the Krasnoyarsk smelter before his ouster, was paid about $105 million, a sum ordered by an arbitration tribunal and appeals court in Zurich, which Swiss court records corroborate.

The Reuben brothers of London, who ran several trading schemes for the Russian smelters Deripaska operated, claimed $300 million; they received a sum reported to be over $100 million, after an application to a British Virgin Islands court. Details of their June 27, 2005, settlement spilled out when one of Deripaska's companies - called Bluzwed Metals -- went into the High Court in London, arguing that Trans World Metals, the Reubens' vehicle, had violated Clause 11.4 of the secret deal with Deripaska. Deripaska then sought High Court enforcement of the Reubens deal. He got his summary judgement on January 26, 2006, in a ruling by Justice Sir Andrew Morritt. One secret also spilled in the Bluzwed case was the identity of a Lebanese arranger called Joseph Karam - "K" in the court text - whose payoff and indemnity from further claims Bluzwed accused the Reubens of threatening..

Counting the latest Nazarov settlement, Deripaska has been obliged to fork out about half a billion dollars to those claimants with cases strong enough to take to foreign courts and tribunals.

If he manages to list Rusal in a London IPO at a market capitalization of $30 billion, Deripaska's 66% stake would be worth $19.8 billion. Cashing out claims that constitute a serious legal barrier to the IPO saves money, and makes business sense.

Just one UK High Court case remains -- that of Mikhail Chernoy (Michael Cherney). This was filed in the Commercial Court of Queens Bench on November 24, 2006. The sole defendant is Oleg Deripaska, who is accused of breach of trust. Mineweb has reported the details before. There has been no court hearing yet.

Well, Chernoy was on the lam from a number of police agencies, so one could excuse him for not making a good deal before he got to Israel. And Deripaska isn't out of the woods, yet, either:

Pleading that he isn't cash-rich at all, will Deripaska offer Chernoy $2 billion to tear up the March 10, 2001, agreement, and go away? Will Chernoy accept it? Chernoy isn't saying.

Deripaska must play for time, but the clock is ticking against him, so long as the Chernoy agreement of 2001 is an albatross hanging unluckily around his neck. But if the two could agree on staging payments over time, with the bulk to come from Deripaska's dividends from future Rusal earnings, this may constitute a prima facie violation of Deripaska's undertakings to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), when he swore he had fully bought out Chernoy years ago. An ERBD loan to Rusal, and a matching credit from the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, depend legally on the truthfulness of Deripaska's covenants.

And there is another potential liability for the owner of the world's most important bauxite, alumina and aluminium combine. Would an ongoing financial obligation between Deripaska and Chernoy complicate Deripaska's relations with the US authorities?

If it can be authenticated, the Chernoy document is serious evidence in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's dossier on Deripaska. Now that the Nazarov case is gone, the pressure is on Deripaska to settle with Chernoy on terms that also resolve his problems with the FBI.

So if he can actually buy off Chernoy, he could make his problems 'go away'. If he can't, even though Chernoy has to legitimize his claim, Deripaska is legitimizing it by not offering the IPO (which he could do with everything *else* cleared out of the way). And if he has to go to court, then that would indicate that he knew of a pre-existing claim against RusAl when he said there weren't any, thus bollixing up his position with the EBRD and FBI. And if Chernoy has some hard feelings, which I do believe is the case, then getting paid money won't be a solution, nor will trying to *get* Chernoy as his brother, Lev, will then rally what he can against Deripaska. That would get blood ugly very, very quickly.

The only other information of note from the article is this, and do remember it was published back in April 2007:

In the latest US newspaper reports, it is disclosed that Deripaska paid $560,000 to the law firm of former Republican Senator Bob Dole to resolve the FBI's ban, and get Deripaska his 2005 visa. Washington sources report that other prominent US law firms, and at least one other prominent Republican Party official, have been retained by Deripaska over the years to surmount the visa ban, and retrieve the black ball. At one point, the source claims, he was offering a sizeable bounty for success. The sources also say there has been a long-running and spirited argument between the White House, the State Department, and the investigation agencies over this issue.

That does put a bit of a different light on the WaPo report of 25 JAN 2008 on Rick Davis, an aide to Sen. McCain, having set up a meeting with Deripaska with Sen. McCain: it was not unknown in Washington, DC circles or in the Republican Party that someone had such high level contacts. But it isn't unusual for organized crime figures from Russia to have high level lawyers connected to politics in the US, as seen from this Moscow Times article of 18 APR 2007 (Source: Ocnus cache) quoting the WSJ:

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska has retained former Senate majority leader Bob Dole since 2003 to lobby the U.S. State Department to grant him a visa, the newspaper said.

Deripaska paid Dole's law firm, Alston & Bird, $300,000 in 2003 for activities involving "U.S. Department of State visa policies and procedures," according to lobby filings with the U.S. Senate.

Deripaska had been denied a U.S. visa for several years, the paper said.

The U.S. Department of State granted Deripaska a visa in 2005, after Dole worked for two years to convince U.S. officials that Deripaska was a legitimate and transparent businessman, the newspaper said. Deripaska paid Dole's firm an additional $260,000 upon receipt of the visa, it said.


The newspaper also said former FBI chief William Sessions was acting as a lawyer to Semyon Mogilevich, the Ukrainian-born Russian who is on the FBI's most wanted list over his purported organized-crime links.

Sessions is lobbying the U.S. Department of Justice as it investigates charges of racketeering against Mogilevich for involvement in shady energy deals between Russia and Ukraine, the newspaper said.

Yes a $260,000 'bounty' to get the visa! So lovely when fine, upstanding, elderly, retired Senators start shilling for those in organized crime, isn't it? That is only topped by an ex-head of the FBI doing the same. So much for 'law and order'.

One really can't complain too much, however, as 22 FEB 2008 Sun-Sentinal ran a WaPo article to take a look at Davis' view on things:

The work of Davis' firm put him on the opposite side of Eastern European politics from McCain, who has spoken out vigorously against what he sees as Putin's attempts to subvert elections in former Soviet republics such as Ukraine.

Davis' firm provided political advice to a pro-Russian party in Ukraine during the parliamentary elections of 2006. McCain, on the other hand, backed President Viktor Yushchenko, a Western-oriented reformer who led 2004's Orange Revolution, which overturned what he and his allies considered an election stolen by the party helped by Davis's firm.

Makes it all proper and such, right? Having been at opposite ends of the Ukraine deal? In case it has been forgotten, there is something about Yuschenko that would turn out not to be all bright and cheerful, seen in a Moscow News item of 16 APR 2006, The Orange Boomerang:

An experienced politician, Yulia Tymoshenko managed not only to make the "presidential steps" but also ensured that the Ukrainian people remember to whom they owe the real improvement in their living standards. Experts believe that this is the main factor in Yushchenko's declining ratings amid the growing popularity of the "iron lady."

It is true that the Ukrainians' attitude toward their president has also been affected by the latest round of rumors and speculation that the opposition timed for the upcoming parliamentary election: e.g., when he became president, Yushchenko worked hard to hush up the investigation of his purported poisoning; that Boris Berezovsky funded his election campaign in 2004, also writing a version of his inauguration address; and that Yushchenko's mother-in-law traveled from Philadelphia to Kiev for the inauguration ceremony on a charter flight paid for by businessman Dmitry Firtash, the right-hand man of Semen Mogilevich who is on the FBI's wanted list, but recently took part in discussing the Russian-Ukrainian gas agreement in Moscow.

In short, the Orange boomerang that Yushchenko threw at corrupt officials in the form of his "All Felons Will Be Jailed!" calls never hit anyone. As it turns out, only Yushchenko was hit.

Yes, the same Dmitri Firtash that I go over in this entry detailing his dealings only about two levels down from the top. The man who was director of Highrock Holdings, owned by Mogilevich, to buy a major stake in Eural TransGas, the natural gas purchaser/reseller from Turkmenistan to Ukraine via Gazprom's pipelines. The same Firtash who would not disclose that he and another member of Mogilevich's inner cricle, Ivan Fursin, were backing a 50% stake in the company to replace ETG, RusUkrEnergo, because ETG was seen as corrupt. Mind you, ETG was replacing Itera that *also* had these exact, same links. Same Semion Mogilevich that had swindled hundreds of millions from the US and Canada by manipulating the permanent magnets market and then offering deals he had no intention of backing. Viktor Yushchenko would let the ETG to RUE deal go through with 'unknown' Ukrainian backers, all the while his older brother Peter Yuschenko was getting help by Mogilevich and Firtash in buying part ownership in a gas company in Dubai. All of this funded with money from the narcotics trade in the Golden Triangle, prostitution, money laundering, human trafficking, white slavery, bank fraud, securities fraud, and, perhaps, a spot or two of murder and assassination along the way, as well as supplying small amounts of enriched, processed nuclear material to Osama bin Laden.

While we all love the Orange Revolution as a concept and a happening, the actual individuals involved that got into power have a bit of reckoning to do. The good people of the Ukraine are being ill-served by their political class that seems to be out for *themselves* and selling off their land, resources and historical sites for cash on the barrel. Believe it or not this has been going on under 'both sides' of the Orange Revolution. What is this powerful 'difference' I am supposed to see here? That Sen. McCain supports one group of compromised politicians that more or less support the West and his aide supported those that more or less aligns with Russia?

Excuse me for a moment while I review the names of dictators and tyrants that were more aligned with the US during the Cold War that we did damned little to *clean up* and help to hold higher ideals of liberty and democracy: Ferdinand Marcos, Carlos Menem, Zia ul-Haq, Saddam Hussein, Shah of Iran. Remember these were the 'good guys' that were 'for us' and if they were awful they at least were 'on our side'. The Philippines did, finally, deal with Marcos after decades of oppression, Argentina has wavered all over the place, but do note that Menem gave one of the largest international criminals, Monzer al-Kassar, pretty much free reign on the criminal side. President Zia only continued supporting global Islamic extremists, plus the extremely nasty local sort and continued nuclear work begun during the 'democratic' period of Benazir Bhutto's father who also supplied radical Islamic terrorists with cash and training. Pakistan got lovely nuclear devices and started selling the know-how elsewhere. Saddam? Notice how he got all nice about human liberty and democracy? And just how *did* that Shah business turn out, anyways?

Just how many corrupt political movements has the US backed that never did their nation much of any good because they had problems backing the words of liberty with actions? And how many did we back that didn't mouth any such words, but at least they were 'our scoundrel'? And just why is it that the Administration and the FBI have to go at loggerheads over if it is a good idea to let a major organized crime figure into the US?

I don't particularly like Sen. Obama's Chitown mob connections through the Syrian-American Rezko. Truthfully, that stinks to high heaven.

That is only outdone by Sen. Clinton's connections to various Triads, Red Mafia, gun and narcotics groups and your basic 'where the hell did they get the money' sorts like Norman Hsu. The previous President Clinton letting Red China get missile guidance technology and advanced optics is not my idea of a fun time, nor is having an agent that gets his hands on classified CIA data and then helps on trying to get automatic weapons to gangs in Los Angeles. That pretty much makes the stink to high heaven and then piles the source all the way to heaven to make it impossible to get out.

Then having the folks in the Republican Party get a tizzy because this just might be a 'social meeting' between Sen. Squeaky Clean who supported crooked politicians with organized crime backing in Ukraine and then meeting up with a criminal for another organization while overseas in Switzerland... get a grip. It stinks. Not as bad as Obama or Clinton? Yes.

It is a matter of degree, however, not of *kind*.

I, too, wish that the Orange Revolution could actually have found the corrupt politicians and gotten them out of the system. That did not happen, however. I did not close my eyes to the problems with those individuals and who was backing them.

Just as I cannot close my eyes to the problems of each of these candidates running for President of my Nation.

Because Obama backing Odinga, Clinton supporting Kosovo with the al Qaeda backed KLA now taking power, and McCain supporting a politician tied to the Red Don and then meeting up with another Red Mafia oligarch from the same organization which has Mogilevich in it, all are of equal problem in their view of foreign affairs, liberty, and freedom. If you don't like what is being supported by the candidates you *don't* like, then take a look to make sure you aren't getting the same thing from one you *do*. Because they all look equal to me.

20 February 2008

Before the Declaration: Sam Adams and the Rights of the Colonists

As we hear much of the inalienable rights of man, and the Declaration of Independence, it must be regarded that these two phenomena did not show up simultaneously. The Declaration of Independence, itself has roots going back into history and is a culminating document of the rights of individuals, the rights of the state and how the rights of individuals are primary to them, while the rights of the state derive from them. Samuel Adams would have an article published in 1769 and again in 1772 to look at such rights (italics in the original, bold is mine) in an untitled document (Source: Learning American History):

At the revolution, the British constitution was again restor'd to its original principles, declared in the bill of rights; which was afterwards pass'd into a law, and stands as a bulwark to the natural rights of subjects. "To vindicate these rights, says Mr. Blackstone, when actually violated or attack'd, the subjects of England are entitled first to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law—next to the right of petitioning the King and parliament for redress of grievances-and lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence." These he calls "auxiliary subordinate rights, which serve principally as barriers to protect and maintain inviolate the three great and primary rights of personal security, personal liberty and private property": And that of having arms for their defence he tells us is "a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression."

The British constitution is not a singular document, but a series of views giving Parliament primary power in law making, and affording rights under the various laws added in as-needed. With the Magna Carta also goes: Habeas Corpus Act 1679, Bill of Rights for England and Wales 1689, Claim of Right for Scotland 1689, Act of Settlement 1701, Act of Union 1707 which creates Great Britain. After the abrogation of rights under the Magna Carta by Charles I, and the resultant Acts passed after Cromwell's republic during the Restoration, the rights of individuals were more defined and put in as a matter of law. Thus rights are gained by law, not presumed to pre-exist and then law being applied to them to regulate them.

The Declaration would change some of the wording on the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and in the US Constitution the stronger views on the inviolability of person and property would be established to be without question save as under due process of law. The right to bear arms is seen not only as a public allowance under the English system, but it goes directly with the natural right of resistance and self preservation, when law is not enough to keep violence of oppression in restraint. Note that these two things are each combined, so that it is not only the violence of oppression from government against society, but also the violence of oppression by other individuals who are insufficiently restrained by law. The individual's right to be armed and counter these things, while having due restrictions, must not be so restrained as to remove them. That is a worry in the English system as Parliament decides on rights via law, so preventing laws that would go against those rights is paramount and the only way to back that up is to be armed.

The Amendment II language on a 'well regulated militia' is in accord with this, and every individual must be able to arm themselves for the defense of self and society under due restrictions by law. Banning weapons is a violation of the right to protect oneself from those actors that will not abide by law or that will use law to oppress individuals or society. Adams then goes on to follow up that view with this (I will use some editing for readability, but leave his text 'as-is' as he now uses both italics and bolding):

-How little do those persons attend to the rights of the constitution, if they know anything about them, who find fault with a late vote of this town, calling upon the inhabitants to provide themselves with arms for their defence at any time; but more especially, when they had reason to fear, there would be a necessity of the means of self preservation against the violence of oppression.

-Every one knows that the exercise of the military power is forever dangerous to civil rights; and we have had recent instances of violences that have been offer'd to private subjects, and the last week, even to a magistrate in the execution of his office!

- Such violences are no more than might have been expected from military troops: A power, which is apt enough at all times to take a wanton lead, even when in the midst of civil society; but more especially so, when they are led to believe that they are become necessary, to awe a spirit of rebellion, and preserve peace and good order. But there are some persons, who would, if possibly they could, perswade the people never to make use of their constitutional rights or terrify them from doing it. No wonder that a resolution of this town to keep arms for its own defence, should be represented as having at bottom a secret intention to oppose the landing of the King's troops: when those very persons, who gave it this colouring, had before represented the people petitioning their Sovereign, as proceeding from a factious and rebellious spirit; and would now insinuate that there is an impropriety in their addressing even a plantation Governor upon public business-Such are the times we are fallen into!

Here is one of those great times in history when an individual now calls attention that the civil right to bear arms is far, far better than military troops. As put forward, military troops are a means of oppression against those having grievances against a sovereign, and yet the natural right of resistance via arms is not only legitimate but necessary for a free people to claim their rights under law. This is oppression at its heart: the ability of the State to cow or overawe or threaten individuals that society, itself, is put under threat from tyrannical rule. Without arms one cannot have civil society nor accountability of the State. To those who would like to give the State the power and capability to ban weapons: you would not have had the American Revolution with that outlook.

Sam Adams would re-iterate these things in his listing of Rights of the Colonists and he would use language drawn not only from Blackstone, but other sources as well (bolding mine, throughout):

Among the Natural Rights of the Colonists are these First. a Right to Life; Secondly to Liberty; thirdly to Property; together with the Right to support and defend them in the best manner they can-Those are evident Branches of, rather than deductions from the Duty of Self Preservation, commonly called the first Law of Nature

Life, liberty, property and the ability to defend them in the best manner possible. Another line from the Declaration would show up from Sam Adams:

All Men have a Right to remain in a State of Nature as long as they please: And in case of intollerable Oppression, Civil or Religious, to leave the Society they belong to, and enter into another.

When Men enter into Society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions, And previous limitations as form an equitable original compact.

A primary right of humans is the right to associate with each other and bring about, voluntarily, society. That society is then safeguarded via a compact, design, or other such statement of what that society is and will do. This is not a right bestowed by government or States, but is an inviolable right of individuals to do this thing. So many gloss over this in the reading of the Declaration of Independence, but the concept is primary for all of mankind: you have the right to form society, set its limits and then discriminate based on those limits set by mutual agreement within society. If you do not like that society and cannot convince your fellow man to change it, you can dissolve that voluntarily made association and go elsewhere and associate with others more to your liking.

In case it has been missed in all the grand splendor of those talking about 'classical liberalism' this is the foundation of that: the right to tell folks that they must adjust to society and its laws. A society does not have to accept those that will not accede to that and the laws may be used in those circumstances. That is voluntary consent between individuals and society and is reciprocal.

Then comes an idea that would be the guiding light of the US Constitution and re-stated in two Amendments:

Every natural Right not expressly given up or from the nature of a Social Compact necessarily ceded remains.

This is a key part of the Constitutional outlook restated in Amendments IX and X, so that the People and States retain all rights not given to the National government. For the Constitution to have a reasoning behind it, this is its underpinning: the People give government very few things to do and very few rights and retain all other rights and responsibilities at a lower level.

So far we have: life, liberty, property, arms to support those three, self-preservation, to live in a natural state of being, to form societies, to defend societies, to leave societies, to recognize mutual consent about forming, defending and leaving societies, to have equal enforcement of the social compact, and to retain all of those rights not ceded of necessity by the social compact in the individual.

Now comes one that will be a surprise to those not paying attention to the founders:

As neither reason requires, nor religeon permits the contrary, every Man living in or out of a state of civil society, has a right peaceably and quietly to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience.

You do have the right to peaceably worship God to your own views inside or outside of civil society. That is an individual right supported by society and comes from the views of Westphalia and from the developed views of the English Common Law over time as Henry VIII had made some definite inroads on it, and by the time of Charles I it had become a sticking point. This is given over to the individual, not the State to choose for individuals. A State may have a religious view, may promulgate holidays, may do many things, save force you to worship as the State dictates. Iraq may have a 'Muslim state' but it is also figuring out how to accommodate both major groups within Islam, a host of sects within those major groups, and then many others like the Yezidis, Syriac Christians, Followers of John the Baptist...quite an interesting thing to see a Muslim country make Christmas a National Holiday.

He then goes on in a more lengthy portion to put in God's place in the law, and then how reasonable men should approach religious differences:

"Just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty" in matters spiritual and temporal, is a thing that all Men are clearly entitled to, by the eternal and immutable laws of God and nature, as well as by the law of Nations, & all well grounded municipal laws, which must have their foundation in the former.

In regard to Religeon, mutual tolleration in the different professions thereof, is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced; and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind: And it is now generally agreed among christians that this spirit of toleration in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society "is the chief characteristical mark of the true church"2 & In so much that Mr. Lock has asserted, and proved beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only Sects which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are excluded from such toleration, are those who teach Doctrines subversive of the Civil Government under which they live. The Roman Catholicks or Papists are excluded by reason of such Doctrines as these "that Princes excommunicated may be deposed, and those they call Hereticks may be destroyed without mercy; besides their recognizing the Pope in so absolute a manner, in subversion of Government, by introducing as far as possible into the states, under whose protection they enjoy life, liberty and property, that solecism in politicks, Imperium in imperio3 leading directly to the worst anarchy and confusion, civil discord, war and blood shed-4

When I hear someone say they want religion as it was 'just at the founding as the founders saw it' may I politely say: You are nuts. Folks like Jefferson wouldn't even mince the words as nicely as Sam Adams... mind you Jefferson was not even Orthodox, being a Unitarian, and had some bright things to say about many Protestant sects, also. The reason they followed the Westphalian concept of not having the government inculcate religion, was that they were of various sects, beliefs and outlooks, and a very few had *none* and yet wanted a Nation of *reason* to come about. Adams, Jefferson, and the rest were more than prepared to share a Nation with those they disagreed with on religion, so long as religion was kept out of what was pressed upon them all by common government. Apparently Christianity was something that had multiple different viewpoints, with some very harsh feelings between the various branches and sects.

The founders were wise to hold secular government in common and, while giving an overlook across all Christianity with 'In God We Trust' and other forms of recognition, they wanted no part in actually telling people which sect, group, or cult was actually vested in those words. We do, indeed, trust in that higher power, but heaven help you if you try to push your version of it on others. The Peace of Westphalia and the moves by Henry VIII prior to the 30 Years War all set the stage to try and step away from wars that would see a disturbingly large number of believers *dead* because they fought for their branch of Christianity under the Prince of Peace. That had *not* died down by the founding and the last thing anyone wanted to do was to put in-place the very same sorts of laws that had forced the Puritans and others to leave their homes in the Old World because they could not get equality under the law for their religious views. Apparently I remember a different and diverse set of founders that agreed upon common government to be held apart from religion and only give some obeisance to a generalized societal view of it. As society held no singular view of even Christianity in common, the idea to leave what you believed up to the individual was one that was pressed forward, just as it was in Westphalia so that States with that agreement would *not* practice religious persecution. It didn't stop them, of course, but the slow seeping of that wisdom into how we viewed Nations has changed history.

From there one moves to Sam Adams' views on natural liberty:

The natural liberty of Men by entring into society is abridg'd or restrained so far only as is necessary for the Great end of Society the best good of the whole

In the state of nature, every man is under God, Judge and sole Judge, of his own rights and the injuries done him: By entering into society, he agrees to an Arbiter or indifferent Judge between him and his neighbours; but he no more renounces his original right, than by taking a cause out of the ordinary course of law, and leaving the decision to referees or indifferent Arbitrations. In the last case he must pay the Referees for time and trouble; he should be also willing to pay his Just quota for the support of government, the law and constitution; the end of which is to furnish indifferent and impartial Judges in all cases that may happen, whether civil ecclesiastical, marine or military.

Hmmm... 'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few'! Lovely how Star Trek tries to address these things. Yes, that firm and fundamental right to associate and create society comes with it a burden to each and every member to then support that society. If one lived solely by their own hands and with no interaction with any others, ever, then living in a state of nature each man is judge of his actions and his rights with no other to intervene. By being in society and having the benefits of society, one incurs the obligation to support society in its means and methods under law. Thus to gain the rights previously mentioned within a society, one needs to support that society as a whole, enter into it voluntarily and understand that the cost of supporting all of it, even if you vehemently disagree with a small subsection of it, must be done. If your conscience moves you from that ability to support due to a small section you disagree with, you are breaking your societal compact and setting your beliefs higher than those of the society around you.

In our modern day we get a segment of society that wishes to push their views upon the whole of society via government, have the ability to complain and protest and give non-support to those areas they dislike which *are* held in common, while claiming that everyone *else* needs to support their views on things they want government to do that are not agreed upon by the whole or even majority of society. Via the Sam Adams view you do have the right to such civil views so long as you support the entirety of the burden placed upon you, even for those things you do not like. To do otherwise is to set oneself up under the law of nature as above society and dictating one's own beliefs to society while refusing to support it. This is why those who want to 'protest' by withholding their taxes have a difficult time getting traction: they have abdicated their responsibility to the entirety of society for the minority of their views. So long as you support the whole, then it is civil discourse to talk about one's problems and differences with what is going on. The moment that greater support stops, or you wish to pick and choose your obligations outside of what your personal religious beliefs tell you for *yourself*, then one acts in an authoritarian manner putting themselves up as judge and arbiter for society for their views. By placing yourself in that 'morally higher position' you have simultaneously isolated yourself from society to dictate to it your wishes. That normally gets shunning, not an audience.

The kicker is: you may even be *right*.

You chose the exact, wrong means to state your disagreements.

Of final note on this passage is that Sam Adams understands the different provinces of the law: civil, ecclesiastical, marine, military. This is fascinating, not for the ecclesiastical mention which is an individual's choice to subject themselves to such law, but for the marine choice. This is the commonly held Admiralty laws, that go along with the high and near seas, and the commerce it engenders. At this point the English law is already a few centuries from The Black Book of the Admiralty, and marine or maritime law has gone through a few iterations on an international scale in France, Spain, Netherlands, Britain, and elsewhere. While we, today, think of this as a minor jurisdiction for contract law, it is still a view that governs trade, commerce, and the sovereignty of a ship at sea to be a part of its Nation until out of the reaches of the sea (which is a direct access affair for the US, requiring the passing of headlands for local law to take hold outside of traffic restrictions and such for common navigation). It is difficult to determine if the listing of these laws are precedential (that is with the earliest being most important) or equality in different provinces, which I think is what he is getting across, which gives each of these its own separate views that can overlap, but only do so when the type of law is crossed. Something like Piracy, depending upon maritime law, also has civil and military views to it and those differences remain with us to this day, based on activity and what is being done (ex. an attack by a Pirate is a military attack, a capture of a Pirate by civil authorities is a civil action, and the predation of commerce is a maritime action which relates to both the civil and military laws).

After that there is a section that will definitely make a few people pause:

"The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man; but only to have the law of nature for his rule."

In the state of nature men may as the Patriarchs did, employ hired servants for the defence of their lives, liberty and property: and they should them reasonable wages. Government was instituted for the purposed of common defence; and those who hold the reins of government have an equitable natural right to an honourable support from the same principle "that the labourer is worth of his hire: but then the same community which they serve, ought to be assessors of their pay: Governors have no right to seek what they please; by this, instead of being content with the station assigned them, that of honourable servants of the society, they would soon become Absolute masters, Despots, and Tyrants. Hence as a private man has a right to say, what wages he will give in his private affairs, so has a Community to determine what they will give and grant of their Substance, for the Administration of publick affairs. and in both cases more are ready generally to offer their Service at the proposed and stipulated price, than are able and willing to perform their duty.

In short it is the greatest absurdity to supposed it in the power of one or any number of men at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the mans of preserving those rights when the great end of civil government from the very nature of its institution is for the support, protection and defence of those very rights: the principal of which as is before observed, are life liberty and property. If men through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce and give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the great end of society, would absolutely vacate such renunciation; the right of freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of Man to alienate this gift, and voluntarily become a slave-

Yes, do indeed be wary of those wanting government to do things for you: they are not seeking good ends, but the concentration of power to government and the governors. That is especially true when cloaked in the words of giving succor to the poor - society does have an obligation to the poor and charity is best done by those interested in giving it, not those forced to work at it. When one starts to see the government as the source of that which is good and the source of rights, then one begins to alienate themselves from that gift of freedom. The gift itself, as the Declaration would put it, is self-evident and inalienable.

But only so long as you remember that it is you that are the source of good in society and abide by those things society asks to support it.

Beware those that tell you all the good things government can do for you.

They seek your poverty.

And your submission to them and to government.

That soon gets you back to that right to self-defense against oppression as government can at best only be impartial judge, and never the source of your rights. Forget these things and one is well on the path to putting fetters on themselves and their fellow man by empowering government and forgetting their duty to society as a whole. To utilize one rights incurs an obligation in society to one's conscience and beliefs... and government is very, very poor at handling either.

18 February 2008

Foreign policy team follies

Today we turn to the foreign policy teams of the Presidential candidates and asses who they bring to the table as 'experience' in our troubled times.

From Foreign Policy In Focus, article of 04 FEB 2008, Behind Obama and Clinton:

Contrasting Teams

Senator Clinton’s foreign policy advisors tend to be veterans of President Bill Clinton’s administration, most notably former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger. Her most influential advisor - and her likely choice for Secretary of State - is Richard Holbrooke. Holbrooke served in a number of key roles in her husband’s administration, including U.S. ambassador to the UN and member of the cabinet, special emissary to the Balkans, assistant secretary of state for European and Canadian affairs, and U.S. ambassador to Germany. He also served as President Jimmy Carter’s assistant secretary of state for East Asia in propping up Marcos in the Philippines, supporting Suharto’s repression in East Timor, and backing the generals behind the Kwangju massacre in South Korea.

Senator Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisers, who on average tend to be younger than those of the former first lady, include mainstream strategic analysts who have worked with previous Democratic administrations, such as former national security advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Anthony Lake, former assistant secretary of state Susan Rice, and former navy secretary Richard Danzig. They have also included some of the more enlightened and creative members of the Democratic Party establishment, such as Joseph Cirincione and Lawrence Korb of the Center for American Progress, and former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke. His team also includes the noted human rights scholar and international law advocate Samantha Power - author of a recent New Yorker article on U.S. manipulation of the UN in post-invasion Iraq - and other liberal academics. Some of his advisors, however, have particularly poor records on human rights and international law, such as retired General Merrill McPeak, a backer of Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, and Dennis Ross, a supporter of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

Yes the article is pointing to major flaws in these two candidates!

Now to those on the Left who point to nefarious dealings on the Carlyle Group, The Nation on 01 NOV 2004 in an article James Baker's Double Life, by Naomi Klein will point out that it has not been acting alone in some realms talking about the pre-War Iraqi debt and Kuwaiti claims on Iraq:

This is where the Carlyle/Albright consortium comes in. The premise of its proposal is that Iraq's unpaid debts to Kuwait are not just a financial problem but a political and public relations problem as well. Global public opinion is no longer what it was when Kuwait was promised full reparations. Now the world is focused on reconstructing Iraq and forgiving its debts. If Kuwait is going to get its reparations awards, the cover letter argues, it will need to recast them not as a burden on Iraq but "as a key element in working toward regional stability and reconciliation."

Several parties involved in the consortium emphasized that the proposal concerned only reparations debts. Albright Group spokesperson Jamie Smith said, "We were asked to join a proposal to secure justice for victims of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and ensure that compensation to Kuwaiti victims--which was endorsed by the US government and the United Nations--be used to promote reconciliation, environmental improvements and investment in Kuwait, Iraq and the region."

In fact, the proposal does not restrict itself to reparations debt. The consortium also asks the government of Kuwait to give the consortium control over $30 billion in defaulted sovereign debts to be used as political leverage to secure reparations claims. Furthermore, most experts on debt restructuring agree that Iraq's debts must be looked at as a whole: There is little point forgiving Iraq's sovereign debts if the country is still going to be saddled with an unmanageable reparations burden. This understanding is reflected in the documents, which repeatedly state that Kuwait's reparations payments are endangered by the moves to forgive Iraq's debts.

'Why, yes, don't have your reparations money put in danger after a dictator that I recommended doing nothing about is deposed and the new government seeks debt forgiveness!' - that is basically how Madeleine Albright is saying via her group. So handy of her to want to profit off of a problem she did nothing to mitigate or end and, indeed, helped continue while she was in office.

Another place she would do nothing about was Liberia during its conflicts of the 1990's, as seen at FrontPage Magazine by Kenneth R. Timmerman on Jesse, Liberia and Blood Diamonds, 25 JUL 2003:

And for good reason. The current crisis was in part the creation of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a Democratic Party activist who claims to champion the rights of Africans to self-governance. As special envoy for democracy and human rights in Africa, starting in October 1997, Jackson was President Bill Clinton's point man for Africa. It was Jackson who spearheaded Clinton's 10-day African safari in March 1998, at a cost to taxpayers of $42.8 million. And it was Jackson who legitimated Liberian strongman Charles Taylor and his protégé, the machete-wielding militia leader in neighboring Sierra Leone, Cpl. Foday Sankoh. Without Jackson's active intervention, both leaders were headed toward international isolation and sanction. Thanks to Jackson, both retained power to murder another day.

At Jackson's prompting, Clinton made an unprecedented phone call to Taylor from Air Force One while flying over Africa. Until then the United States had shunned Taylor because of his grisly past. Among Taylor's many "accomplishments" were the murder of American Catholic nuns in Liberia and the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia.


"Secretary [of State Madeleine] Albright delegated Africa policy to [U.S. Rep. Donald] Payne [of New Jersey] and the Congressional Black Caucus," Sierra Leone's outspoken ambassador to Washington, John Ernest Leigh, told this reporter. A House International Affairs Committee staffer who followed Jackson's meetings with Taylor put it more bluntly: "The whole effort under Clinton was to mainstream Charles Taylor, and Jesse Jackson had a lot to do with it."


Arriving in Monrovia, Liberia, on May 17, 2000, Jackson declared, "President Taylor has been doing a commendable job negotiating for the release of the hostages. All the hostages should be freed and freed now. There is no basis for delay, there is no basis for negotiations." Jackson's comments would have been laughable were it not for the quantities of innocent blood that had been shed, thanks to his self-serving misbehavior.

By this point, the State Department had suffered enough of Jackson's alleged diplomacy and the failed agreement he had brokered. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker declared on June 5, 2000, that the United States was "not part of that agreement." Jackson summarily was fired as Clinton's special envoy shortly afterward.

But the Clinton State Department is not innocent in this affair. In a series of dispatches and briefing documents stamped "Secret," which the State Department declassified at this reporter's request, it is clear that Assistant Secretary of State Rice, an Albright protégé, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jeter primed Jackson with intelligence, talking points and background papers throughout the entire three-year period he was Clinton's envoy. Indeed, the entire bureaucracy of U.S. diplomacy was put at Jackson's disposal with tragic results.

Do you remember the State Dept. problems of not having personnel wanting to leave cushy jobs in Europe for necessary ones in India? Or on serving on Transition Teams in Iraq? Remember those folks? They are the ones under Madeleine Albright who supported Jesse Jackson's attempt to 'mainstream' a butcher as the conflict spread to neighboring Sierra Leone. Secretary of State Albright couldn't be bothered with piddling affairs in Liberia and hundreds, if not thousands dead... no she left that up to the Congressional Black Caucus to do for her. That is known as 'delegating responsibilities' into the hands of the unprepared. Mind you her staff didn't help things or blow any whistles while the death toll increased in and blood diamonds went out through Energem and Victor Bout. And in case you forgot those, Victor Bout is in the illegal arms and narcotics trade having Russian descent (mentioned various times in relation to Monzer al-Kassar) and helped support the Taliban and Liberian fighters, and Energem... well... that wasn't so long ago. This from back on 31 JUL 2007 The Standard, in Kenya, looked at MP Odinga and his workings as I looked at previously:

Acquisition of the molasses plant

Significantly, Spectre had applied for the same land in a letter of February 18, 1999, but the Government at the time had rejected the request. Titles were prepared in favour of Spectre on February 3, 2002 for a 99-year lease backdated to September 1, 2001.

When the Odinga family started the process that led to the acquisition of the molasses plant in 2001, Raila had already established good business contacts in South Africa. Energem Resources Incorporated, an international firm quoted on the Toronto Stock Exchange, had been looking for an investment opportunity in Kenya for a long time and the Kisumu Molasses Plant was just right.

Soon after taking over the plant from the Government, Raila struck a lucrative deal with Energem, whereby the Canadian firm bought 55 per cent of Kisumu Molasses plant.

The Canadians also ploughed in millions of dollars to rehabilitate the plant and it is today one of the country’s largest manufacturing concerns employing hundreds of people and producing at least 60,000 litres of industrial ethanol for local consumption and export.

There you go, the S. African firm that is outlined in this report from Business TimesOnline (UK) on 30 DEC 2007:

A COMPANY that has just launched itself on the London stock market as a renewable-energy business is the same firm that became embroiled in the “blood diamond” scandals of the 1990s, in which illegally traded diamonds were used to finance civil wars in Africa, The Sunday Times has established.

Energem Resources, with its head office in South Africa and registered office in Canada, used to be known as DiamondWorks. It changed its name in 2004 and gained its London AIM listing last month.

Canaccord Adams, the adviser that piloted it onto London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), is headed by Tim Hoare, who sits alongside rock star and champion of Africa Bob Geldof on the board of the television-production company Ten Alps. Hoare has been a board member since March this year.


There is no suggestion that the present management had any involvement in the blood diamond trade – an industry at one stage reckoned to be worth $1 billion (£500m) a year – in which civil wars, notably in Angola and Sierra Leone, were fuelled by selling the gems to buy arms.

Page 129 of Energem’s 160-page AIM admission document discloses that Energem was “formerly DiamondWorks Ltd”.

And, in a brief corporate history, the document says that in 1997, the company’s main assets were “diamond exploration properties in Sierra Leone and Angola. The Angolan mines were in full production in 1997 and the Sierra Leone mines were in the process of commissioning when civil unrest in both these countries during 1998 effectively halted operations”.

DiamondWorks came close to bankruptcy and was the subject of a reverse takeover in 2001. Its present management team all joined after that rescue. A stake in a Sierra Leone diamond mining concern has been sold.

A spokesman for Energem said this weekend that “all connections with its DiamondWorks days have long-since been severed”.


In the 1990s, DiamondWorks came under scrutiny in Sierra Leone for using the controversial South African-based mercenary provider Executive Outcomes to secure its diamond mines during the country’s prolonged civil war. The 1990s war, and the diamond trade that sustained it, also came under the Hollywood microscope in the 2006 film Blood Diamond.

In 1997, DiamondWorks’ largest shareholder was Tony Buck-ingham, a former British Army officer who introduced Executive Outcomes into both Sierra Leone and Angola. He was the inspiration behind the London-based mercenary outfit Sandline International. Sandline, which provided mercenaries, military training and arms, was being run by former Scots Guards officer Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Spicer. Sandline and DiamondWorks shared offices in London.

Also linked to DiamondWorks in the 1990s was Simon Mann, the Old Etonian who was later arrested in Zimbabwe accused of attempting to smuggle weapons to Equatorial Guinea to help stage a coup. Mann was DiamondWorks’ chief operations officer. Mann is still in Zimbabwe, trying to resist extradition to Equatorial Guinea.

A certification scheme was set up in 2000 with United Nations backing to stem the flow of blood diamonds from Sierra Leone where rebels used gems to fund the country’s 10-year war.

Energem said this weekend that, as far as it knew, Buckingham was not a shareholder.

The company is concentrating on renewable energy, and wants to farm jatropha, a plant whose seeds can be turned into biofuel.

It is growing jatropha in Mozambique, runs an ethanol plant in Kenya and has oil-refining and storage operations in Nigeria and Malawi.

Energem also has operations in Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

This is how international money laundering goes on, and it was aided by the blind eye of Sec. State Madeleine Albright. Now for those of the 'just say you're sorry and everything will be better' mode of foreign policy, Sec. State Madeleine Albright also tried that... with Iran. Here is how it was received

RFE/RL report of the reaction on 27 March 2000, Volume 3, Number 13, GlobalSecurity.org:

HOSTILE OFFICIAL REACTION TO ALBRIGHT SPEECH. Foreign observers and the Western media have commented extensively about the implications of U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright's 17 March speech on Iran, but official commentary from Tehran was fairly restrained initially. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's response to the speech on 25 March, however, was openly hostile and seemed to dash hopes for a rapprochement between Iran and the U.S. in the near future. President Mohammad Khatami has remained silent on the subject thus far.

Albright's speech is seen by many in the West as an important step in the restoration of relations between Iran and the U.S. She announced that the U.S. will permit the import of some Iranian goods, facilitate contacts between Americans and Iranians, and increase efforts to settle outstanding legal claims. Albright also acknowledged the impact of the U.S. role in the 1953 ouster of Prime Minister Mohammad Mussadiq, and she admitted that the U.S. supported Iraq in its war with Iran.

Khamenei responded to Albright during a speech in Mashhad. He said that "The Iranian nation and its authorities consider the United States to be their enemy because America's past behavior is full of acts of hostility and treason." Khamenei added that "The U.S. proposal is deceiving and aimed at continuing enmity with Iran." As for Albright's statements about events in 1953 and 1980-1988, they "came too late and can in no way compensate the damages caused to the Iranian nation."

Khamenei's speech seems to put the stamp of finality on the issue, but there were some positive responses from Tehran beforehand. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said America can export grains and medicine to Iran (which it has been doing anyway), IRNA reported. And Expediency Council secretary Mohsen Rezai said the speech was "a new chapter" in the two country's relations, and he predicted major developments in the coming year, IRNA reported.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, of the parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, also welcomed aspects of the speech, but then he complained that "America's acts...are all negative...there has been no change in its policies." Larijani also criticized Albright's statement that Iran's last three elections (October 1998 Assembly of Experts election, February 1999 council elections, and February 2000 parliamentary elections) were increasingly democratic, because it implied that all the other elections were undemocratic. Larijani also complained about Albright's reference to the "Gulf," rather than the "Persian Gulf."

Supreme National Security Council secretary and deputy parliamentary speaker Hassan Rohani told state radio on 18 March that, "On the whole, [Albright] has repeated the same old belligerent policies." Her comments about domestic Iranian politics, he said, constituted "improper interventions in Iran's internal affairs and system." Even the removal of some trade sanctions, Rohani said, is "not at all a positive [step]; it is a negative step, which smacks of another act of intervention by America in the internal affairs of Iran."

State radio said on 19 March that "Albright's speech shows that the U.S.A. is still pursuing its expansionist policies." And the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps said that Albright's comments "are indicative of an intensifying conspiracy by the White House to create a series of crises in Iran," according to state television.

Some of Iran's neighbors, such as Turkey, Pakistan, and Armenia, welcomed the potential regional stability that improved U.S.-Iran relations could bring. Cairo's state-owned "al-Jumhuriyah," however, was less sanguine, warning on 19 March that "the Iranian desire to dominate the region has not withered yet." The Egyptian daily also wondered if Iran's attitude towards the Middle East Peace Process would change.

Officials in the Israeli Prime Minister's office also questioned the wisdom of U.S. actions, telling the 20 March "Jerusalem Post" that "giving the Iranians the carrot does not work, and therefore by trying to encourage Iran with nice words and actions, the U.S. is making a grave mistake." An Israeli Foreign Ministry official, on the other hand, said U.S. actions are a good thing, but "there are many here who do not understand it and are frightened that when dialogue starts, issues we are concerned about will be left aside." (Bill Samii)

Now, that is what happens when 'Realpolitik' or 'pragmatic diplomacy' is used on Iran. And this is even before going into major appeasement mode with North Korea and their blackmailing of continuing nuclear work unless they get enough fuel to keep their economy going... and then backing out on that saying they want more of the agreement is *off* once Clinton leaves office. Albright's folks would call such blackmail a failure of the Bush Administration when the original appeasement was that of the Clinton Administration.

Good going, Madeleine! Blame others for your ineptitude!

Dear, me! All this time and I haven't even touched on Mr. B from the Obama team... but I did a lengthy review of his inabilities under the Carter Administration just a bit ago because he and Hassan Nemazee (for the Clinton team) both showed up in Syria doing a bit of the 'realist kowtow' to Bashar al-Assad. I will extract a passage from that looking at how 'realism' not only didn't handle Iran, but actually made things worse:

Now in case you aren't familiar with these two 'wise heads' of 'realism' that treats the equivalent of gangsters and mafiosos on the transnational scale as mere misguided miscreants who will soon learn the ever-so-wise 'ways of the world', lets do a bit of the old backgrounding on them! That is always fun to see just what they got up to previously so you can know the kind of hot water they will get you into the next time around.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, whom I covered a bit in this post, first got attention as part of the administration of President Carter, heading up the National Security Council side of things. He was the one who told the Shah of Iran that the US would back him 'to the hilt', and that he had no worries about pesky Islamic Imams and such. When the poor Shah got stuck in Mexico after the coup the US, it turned out that, started heading in the direction of Cyrus Vance who wanted to 'come to terms' with the Ayatollah Khomeini. As the Shah needed cancer treatment both Henry Kissinger and Nelson Rockefeller convinced President Carter this would be a good thing to do. After that we get to the condemnation of the US and the entire hostage taking concept. Now as Iran served as a 'buffer State' in the Great Game of Geopolitik between the US and USSR, Brzezinski was quite willing to forego the Shah and deal with the Ayatollah if he cooperated and helped from an Islamic 'Green Belt' buffer between the West and Soviets. But that entire condemnation and hostage thing really demonstrated that wasn't going to happen as the Ayatollah just wasn't going to play by the established rule book and believed that Islam would overcome everything.

Mind you no one in the Carter Administration did a damned thing about the *first* break-in to the US Embassy in Tehran months prior to that, so as to avoid dealing with the Ayatollah. So saying, after the hostage taking - "The United States of America will not yield to international terrorism or to blackmail" - is more than a bit of a lie as the US did, indeed, do nothing about terrorism with the first break-in. So Mr. Brzezinski was more than willing to: 1) forego an ally of the US, 2) try to establish terms to deal with a radical regime that already violated the US Embassy, and 3) wanted to deal with them during that time to continue playing the Great Game, even though the idea was that they wanted no part in it.

So much for 'realism' and the 'worldly experience' of Mr. Brzezinski. He would not be the first to not understand the problems of radical Islam nor the last, but he certainly didn't do very much to stop it, curb it or end it. Appeasement seemed to be on the menu and, apparently, still is. Good guy for Barack Obama, then, and I'm sure that if Syria wants the equivalent of the Sudetenland, that he would figure out a way to give it to them, most likely the place called 'Lebanon'. Appeasers are very good at giving away other folks' land to tyrants.

Yes, he was for the Shah and against the Ayatollah before he was against the Shah and for the Ayatollah, save the Ayatollah wouldn't play 'realism in foreign policy' (like Calvinball, save everyone changes the rules all the time to suit their needs and no one wins) which would require a lovley, radical Islamic set of Nations to serve as a buffer between the US and USSR. Just what we needed, no?

With such luminaries do we get the drift of where these foreign policy teams are heading?

They appear to be putting the exact, same people in place that *caused* the expansion of radical islam, the spread of nuclear weapons technology by appeasing North Korea and not doing a damned thing about Pakistan, and then trying to apologize their way into the good graces of tyrants and dictators with bloody hands.

It is looking at these past actions which make me a bit leery about trying to cast the Clinton team as 'in the Bush mold' as their folks have not shown the wherewithal to actually figure out what the hell they were doing the first time around and then they sent in Sandy 'Big Socks' Berger to destroy the evidence of their inability to actually get bin Laden on the cheap and easy. Their waffling is only able to be contrasted to the Obama team which is multi-culti, do nothing, appeasement outright with no questions asked. Albright at least wanted a diplomatic patina to the work in Liberia and North Korea, while the Obama-ites would just start in on the 'realism kowtow' from Day ONE.

If the Clinton team has the tenacity of pudding the Obama team has one of jello.

These are definitely 'first instincts' teams: ones that back up the first instincts of the candidates involved.

To get the equivalent for Sen. McCain, however, one has to dig back to his first campaign and see what his first jump to a foreign policy team would look like. In a FindArticles archive article from Insight on the News of 13 MAR 2000, we get just what the McCain senior team would look like:

"What's the first thing you would do as president?" the Detroit News recently asked McCain.

"The first thing I would do," the candidate answered, "is call in John Kerry, Bob Kerrey, Joe Biden, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger, Dick Lugar, Chuck Hagel and several others and say we've got to get foreign-policy, national-security issues back on track."

That statement ricocheted through cyberspace, with Washington national-security experts wondering, "Is McCain nuts?" The formula doesn't compute:

* John Kerry is the very liberal senator from Massachusetts who ran Vietnam Veterans Against the War and whose dogged efforts to save Nicaragua's Marxist regime in the 1980s prompted his hometown paper, the Boston Herald, to refer to him as "the Sandinista ambassador."

* Bob Kerrey, a Nebraska Democratic senator and Clinton/Gore critic, is retiring and won't even be in the Senate when or if McCain makes it to the White House.

* Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, solidly on the left, is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but won't set its agenda because Sen. Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican, still will be the chairman.

* Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was President Carter's national-security adviser, is admired for a toughness toward Moscow that's matched by a puzzling softness toward Beijing.

* Henry Kissinger, architect of President Nixon's premature detente with the Soviet Union and the opening to Communist China, has made millions of dollars consulting with international business while advising U.S. political leaders (see "Lion Dancing With Wolves," April 21, 1997).

* Dick Lugar, the thoughtful, even-handed Indiana Republican senator, has been a key ally of the Clinton administration's failed Russia policies.

* Chuck Hagel, Lugar's eager apprentice, is a first-term Republican senator from Nebraska whom Kissinger wowed on a trip to China. Hagel is formally a member of the McCain camp's "senior foreign-policy team," with a grand total of three (count 'em, three) years' experience in the Washington foreign-policy world. (Hagel is such a Kissinger fan that he told the newspaper The Hill that Kissinger's book Years of Renewal was his "summer reading.")

McCain's anointment of these men left GOP national-security experts scratching their heads. "It shows he has a certain lack of confidence when he has so many people from wholly different environments," a former senior State Department official tells Insight.

That is not only the team of 'realism' but it is the exact, same set of folks who caused the rift with India in the 1970's, did the Mr. B act of following Special Henry K's concept for radical Islamic 'buffer States' and then tops it off with even more Leftist views.

And when Human Events looked at this on 02 APR 2007, what do we see as Sen. McCain's inclinations? Have a look:

At a recent Manhattan fundraiser, Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) was asked whom he is relying on for foreign policy advice in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He listed Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Robert Kagan, George Schultz, Lawrence Eagleburger, William Kristol and Robert Zoellick. “And, you’ll be surprised how often I touch base with that circuit” he told the crowd.

Yes, the drumbeat of 'realism' continues, although, we hope, that the idea of trying to fit radical Islamic States into a 'framework' is left out of things. Bill Kristol denies he is 'advising' McCain, however While Sen. McCain is trying to mix up the 'realists' and the NeoCons, he is leaving out the Traditionalist Security folks who want few interventions and few wars that the Nation is committed to completing.

Needless to say, the domination of the 'Old Guard' in foreign policy who are the ones who's inability to deal with transnational terrorism, international organized crime, and non-rational National leadership allowed the likes of FARC, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, ETA, PLO, LTTE, Shining Path, and myriads of other non-State warmaking groups to flourish. Appeasement in Iran has not worked, nor has 'constructive engagement', nor sending cakes with envoys, nor trying to work with their neighbors to isolate them. Killing competent agents of terrorist organizations does not deal with the adaptable and competent structures they have created, nor their empowerment by organized crime to distribute fanaticism with weapons on the cheap. And organized crime, itself, has now co-opted the previous Cold War foe and is in a 1/3 ownership position of most of the heavy industries in Russia and its spun-off independent Republics, especially along the southern tier of Russia. These individuals do not address the economic structural instabilities in China and the impact of foreign trade on them, or on America, beyond pointing to cheaper goods. Trying to safeguard US jobs, from the Left or Right, cannot be done if China falls into any form of disorganization and becomes a multi-ethnic, multi-religious flashpoint in Asia.

This is the 'Old Guard' preaching about the Maginot Line, while ignoring the development of the Tank and not even addressing the problems of creating such a defensive arrangement that could stop such things. They are internationalists talking about the good of trade and not that the goods from trade wind up in the hands of some of the most vicious individuals on the planet seeking to destroy Nations and all trade to bring it under their domain... even if not successful, the death toll from that has been widespread, endemic and growing over time. While the current Bush Administration has tried to deal with this, it has failed to do so in Pakistan and the lower tier of ex-Russian Republics and is fighting a bare holding action against some of these forces in Somalia. The widespread and endemic organized crime trade has not been addressed at all, nor the banking that has been penetrated by it via the great and good wealth generated in Russia to just *buy the banks they need*. You cannot clean up the banking system when criminal groups hold controlling interests in banks that are part of a wider network of related businesses. If one man can thwart the best law enforcement the US and UK treasuries and INTEL groups can muster, and make a penetration of the US banking system impenetrable, then what chance do they have when the actual banks, themselves, are fully compromised from top to bottom?

None of these foreign policy teams has the demonstrated knowledge and capability or even understanding of these operations to promulgate an effective US policy towards them. In the over three decades since the 'French Connection' takedown, not only has the drug trade not been hampered, it has expanded multifold in size and profitability. Yet each of these groups has their advisors that see all problems as 'law enforcement' ones, and wish, heartily, that the 9/10 world would re-appear. The 'NeoCons' have some understanding that this will not happen, but they have yet to expand beyond looking at military and foreign policy conflict to examine the harder things needing to be done to safeguard the US. For all the talk of 'change' by Obama or 'third way' routes by Clinton, they are offering nostrums for wishing the world would be safer and forgetting that appeasement to those seeking to end the US and liberty does not work. And the ice-laden McCain group has put forward no way to deal with the endemic problems beyond the same-old, same-old that got 3,000 killed one bright September morn.

Sen. Hillary Clinton is running to be Chief Nanny and Scold.

Sen. Barack Obama is running to be Chief of Hope and Feeling Good.

Sen. John McCain wants to be Commander-in-Chief, but not President.

This is why Americans do not like to elect Senators as President: they don't know what the hell the job is.

America cannot do well on a 1/4 President, because all of the duties are necessary to succeed - Head of State, Head of Government, Commander of the Armies and the Navies, and Final Pardoner. Being serious about just one part of that is not an option in today's world and is not more survivable than 0/4.

No matter who is chosen, the American People will have to work damned hard to keep that individual on track to keep the Nation safe and have it survive... for the test of democracy is not the candidates running for office, not the election, but ensuring that they carry out their duties to all of the People, which means: YOU. Our two party failure has ensured that individuals unready for the job and unwilling to learn are being selected, and even if not voting the responsibility to hold them accountable rests with all of us, in the Nation as a whole. We have not done that for decades and we now live with our inattentiveness by having unrepresentative and unprepared political leaders who reflect that laxitude. And when representative democracy fails, it is not the fault of those in government - they only exploit the weaknesses presented to them. Those failures are the fault and full responsibility of all of the People.

And right now a 'do nothing' and 'hold the course' solution is looking very nice.

Let us be lucky enough to get that, and leave 'change' and 'outreach' until we at least can figure out what we might actually need to survive this new century, as the snake oil of the last century has nearly gotten us killed for our lack of efforts.