By Michael Howard
“Wielding [of] the partisan axe” aside, Peter Schweizer’s latest book, “Clinton Cash,” is a cogent and enlightening report on the inner workings of the Clinton money machine. Meticulously researched and deftly presented, “Clinton Cash” details examples of what the author refers to as “The Clinton Blur,” to wit, a blending of business, politics, and NGOs into one massive self-serving aggregate. This Clinton-style blending is motivated primarily (probably exclusively) by avarice, and is normally done at the expense of modern ethical values, both political and moral, the Clintons generally not being bound by scruples of any kind, which should come as a surprise to exactly no one.
Schweizer’s thesis, as it pertains to Hillary Clinton (who is almost certainly going to be our next president), is summed up neatly in the book’s epilogue:
Foreign money has flowed to the Clintons and their foundation from people and entities with intense personal interests in the political choices of the secretary of state. And in several instances that we have described, the evidence suggests that Hillary shifted course to the benefit of those providing the funds.
Given the ongoing clamor engendered by the Iran nuclear deal, which, if passed, will prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear bomb (which they may or may not want to begin with, and which, in spite of the hysterical rhetoric coming from the United States Senate, they certainly couldn’t use), two of the eleven chapters in “Clinton Cash” seem to be of particular relevance.
The first has to do with a controversial deal between Russia – represented here by the Russian State Atomic Nuclear Agency (Rosatom) – and the mining company Uranium One, a major player in United States uranium markets. Uranium, in addition to acting as the explosive fuel for nuclear weapons, is an extremely valuable resource and strategic asset, given the world’s reliance on atomic energy.
In 2007, Uranium One merged with UrAsia Energy, another mining company owned by Canadian business mogul and Clinton confidant Frank Giustra. (In 2005, the Clintons helped Giustra secure a lucrative mining deal with the Kazakh government –Giustra later donated over $31-million to the Clinton Foundation.)
May 2010: Rosatom, which single-handedly controls Russia’s nuclear arsenal and supplies Iran with uranium, announces its plan to buy a majority stake – 52% – of Uranium One, at the time projected to own 50% of U.S. uranium assets by 2015. The significance re: the Clintons? “Several multimillion-dollar Clinton Foundation donors were at the center of the deal,” including Uranium One chairman Ian Telfer, who dumped a total of $2.35-million into the Clinton Foundation using a shell company called the Fernwood Foundation. In all, the Clinton Foundation and its subsets received roughly $145-million in donations from Uranium One shareholders.
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton played “a central role in whether approval [of the deal] was granted.”
Meanwhile, four senior members of Congress spoke of the problematic nature of the deal: “We believe the take-over of essential U.S. nuclear resources by a government-owned Russian agency… would not advance the national security interests of the U.S.”
Considering the U.S. government’s rabid bipartisan opposition to Iran’s nuclear program (which Tehran has always insisted is peaceful), it follows that many U.S. statespersons would feel uneasy surrendering domestic uranium assets to a country which explicitly supports – both materially and on principle – that very program.
Nevertheless, on October 22, 2010, the Rosatom-Uranium One deal was approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is to say it was approved by the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The rubber-stamp seemed to plainly contradict Hillary’s long-standing “reputation as a CFIUS hawk,” which she earned having once been a strident critic of CFIUS decisions to sell U.S. strategic assets to foreign entities, especially governmental ones. (During her 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary self-identified as “an outspoken proponent of strengthening [i.e. constricting] CFIUS.”) It is hard to fathom, then, that she was not the least bit concerned about signing a significant percentage of U.S. uranium over to a man she recently compared to Adolf Hitler.
The passing of the deal meant that over half of Uranium One Inc. (which at the time owned 20% of U.S. uranium) belonged to the Russian government. In 2013, Rosatom acquired the remainder of the company.
Both as United States Senator from New York and as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton asserted her dedication to checking the spread of nuclear weapons – an urgent issue by anyone’s standards. During her speech to the 2010 NPT Review Conference, Hillary made some noteworthy remarks. Among them:
“I come to this conference with sincere and serious proposals to advance the fundamental aims of the NPT and strengthen the global nonproliferation regime.”
“We [the U.S.] support efforts to realize the goal of a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East, in accordance with the 1995 Middle East Resolution.”
“We [the U.S.] want to reaffirm our commitment to the objective of a Middle East free of these weapons of mass destruction, and we are prepared to support practical measures that will move us toward achieving that objective.”
The forgoing quotes are, to put it mildly, difficult to reconcile with the U.S. government’s actions.
The most glaring example of U.S. nuclear hypocrisy is of course the Israeli case. According to Mearsheimer and Walt’s groundbreaking “The Israel Lobby,” in 1968, when president Lyndon Johnson was presented with evidence that Israel – who, unlike Iran, has never been a party to the NPT – had acquired the capacity to build nuclear bombs, his first reaction was to ensure “that nobody else was shown the evidence.” Since then, as everyone knows, the U.S. has provided virtually unconditional support for Israel and its numerous crimes, one such crime being the illegal obtainment of 100-400 nuclear weapons, a circumstance flying in the face of Hillary’s proclaimed “commitment to the objective of a Middle East free of these weapons of mass destruction.”
But there are two more non-NPT allies of the U.S. who have clandestinely (i.e. illegally) acquired nuclear arsenals: India and Pakistan. The former is the subject of a chapter in “Clinton Cash” titled “Indian Nukes: How to Win a Medal by Changing Hillary’s Mind.”
In 1998, India found itself on the wrong end of harsh economic sanctions, imposed by none other than Bill Clinton, who interpreted surprise Indian nuclear weapons tests as “a personal affront, as well as a threat to the nuclear nonproliferation and test ban treaties he was pushing.” India was given an ultimatum: discontinue the nuclear tests, or face international isolation.
India went ahead with its weapons program, and so the sanctions commenced. Hillary Clinton supported this course of action – until she didn’t.
The story begins with Bill Clinton’s relationship to shady Indian-American restaurateur Sant Chatwal, who in 2001 became a trustee of the Clinton Foundation. In addition to raising millions for the foundation, Chatwal never missed a chance to donate to a Clinton political campaign. His reason for doing so was plain: “closer U.S.-Indian relations.”
With this goal in mind, the Clinton benefactor facilitated a 2005 meeting between Bill Clinton and Indian parliament member Amar Singh. The two men quickly became close friends, and Singh later befriended Hillary during a personal visit to the Clinton residence.
A year later the Henry J. Hyde U.S.-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006 was proposed to congress. The effect would be a rapprochement between the two countries, restoring India’s access to American nuclear technology.
Hillary, as U.S. Senator from New York, was opposed to the bill.
Around this time, the Clinton Foundation received a string of donations (totaling several million dollars) from Indian capitalists with a stake in the prospective deal. Being non-citizens, these people were barred from donating directly to Hillary’s presidential campaign; however there was no limit to how much they could give to her foundation. And so the money streamed in, even after Hillary’s presidential run went up in flames, the donors apparently still viewing as imperative her support for the nuclear deal.
In September 2008, with the divisive nuclear deal still hanging in the balance, Hillary had dinner with Amar Singh. (Singh, again, was a member of India’s parliament.) According to Singh, who spoke openly of the private meeting, Hillary assured him that her political party would not block the deal. This came in spite of warnings from Hillary’s closest advisors, who saw the deal as not only impolitic but ultimately dangerous, “a step toward a breakdown in the international nonproliferation regime.”
Shortly thereafter, Congress voted in favor of the bill, and India’s illegal nuclear weapons program was validated.
Before Hillary could be sworn in as President Obama’s Secretary of State, she was made to disclose money donations to the Clinton Foundation, as well as their sources. One such source was Amar Singh, who reportedly donated between $1- and $5-million. Questioned by fellow members of India’s parliament, who were troubled by the apparent conflict of interest, Singh denied having made the donation, as did his political party.
Noteworthy are the post-deal comments from Sant Chatwal, who candidly explained how “millions of dollars” were essential to inducing Hillary Clinton to reverse her position on the Indian nuclear issue and trample on her beloved NPT.
Noteworthy also are the fates of both Amar Singh and Sant Chatwal. The former was arrested and jailed (though never tried) for bribing three members of parliament vis-à-vis the nuclear deal; he is no longer a politician. The latter pleaded guilty to illegally contributing money to three U.S. federal candidates, one of whom was Hillary Clinton. The former Clinton Foundation trustee has since been excommunicated by the dynamic duo.
While it is impossible to know exactly to what extent Hillary Clinton’s about face influenced the bill’s success, the evidence that graft played a significant role in that about face is, while circumstantial, convincing. Needless to say, she has never been made to explain.
For many of us, “Clinton Cash” is one more sordid chapter in the political career of the woman who is set to become our next president. In addition to the chapters summarized above, Schweizer’s exposé has sections dedicated to the Clintons’ “philanthropic” work in Haiti, their collusion with unscrupulous capitalists in Africa, as well as their cynical dealings in the Columbian timber and oil industries.
This book alone could very well be enough to convince a critical (and right-minded) observer that voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016 is a bad idea, such is the extent of her and Bill’s fraud. For the Clinton acolytes, however, “Clinton Cash” is merely another partisan hatchet-job, unworthy of proper scrutiny.
With the propaganda (aka primary) season around the corner, the window for exposing Hillary’s misdeeds will soon be closed, her $2.5 billion campaign helping the media to (1) divert attention from key political issues and (2) persuade the public that her posturing as benevolent populist is actually authentic. It is therefore important for one to emphasize and reemphasize the truth as much as one can.
We should not forget, for instance, that Hillary is a bona fide war hawk. In addition to voting in favor of the George W. Bush administration’s criminal and imperialist war in Iraq (from which ISIS emerged) and calling for the funneling of American weapons to Syrian rebel groups (many of whom have either joined up with Islamic militants or reintegrated with the Syrian Armed Forces), as secretary of state Hillary actually spearheaded NATO’s shelling of Libya, with absolutely disastrous consequences. Lacking a central government following Gaddafi’s deposition, Libya is now a totally failed state of utter chaos, and will remain that way for a long time. Considering that she has praised the notorious Henry Kissinger as a model statesman, it is unsurprising that Hillary’s foreign policy credentials are so dismal. Neocons everywhere can rest assure that, irrespective of which political dynasty (Bush or Clinton) reclaims the White House in 2016, their appetite for war will be satisfied.
Hillary is also a well-documented corporatist, having served on the board of the viciously anti-union Walmart for six years (she still receives donations from the Waltons). Think Hillary is interested in representing the people of this country against their corporate oppressors? Think again. As noted above, Hillary’s 2016 campaign is projected to be worth $2.5-billion, an unprecedented sum for a presidential candidate. That money has to come from somewhere, and it comes from this country’s financial sector. These corporate firms would not support a candidate they believed was intent on checking their reckless profiteering. By financing Hillary’s campaign, Wall Street assures us that she means to preserve the neo-liberal status quo: deregulation, privatization, and obscene wealth inequality.
Like the vast majority of her colleagues, Hillary is a fervent supporter of the Zionist ethnocracy known as Israel, routinely vomiting up the usual clichés about “existential threats” and going so far as to dismiss the global condemnation of Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza last summer as “uncalled for and unfair,” which would be shocking if it weren’t so predictable. Soliciting Jewish donations, Hillary has promised prospective donors that she will be friendlier to Israel than Obama has been – a depressing omen for Palestinians.
Anybody who cares about the future of our planet would be well advised to steer clear of Hillary, given her equivocation over the potentially disastrous Keystone XL pipeline and her stance on fracking. Likewise for anybody who feels strongly about civil liberty and personal privacy, and is outraged at the notion of being surveilled without probable cause by the state: on this issue too Hillary refuses to clarify her stance.
I recently heard someone ask: “Do you think America is ready for Hillary?” Had it been put to me, I would have answered that I don’t understand the question. For when has this country not been ready for another corporatist, militant, faux-populist president?