Posts Tagged ‘State Department’
by William Skink
I’m going to start this post with the simple premise that politics = corruption. And because politics touches everything from birth to death to the air we breathe, so does corruption.
There are of course gradations of corruption throughout the various political systems that govern the people on this planet, but one surefire way of gauging the level of corruption is determining how much money is involved. If it’s a lot of money, then there’s sure to be a lot of corruption.
Defenders of corrupt politicians, like Hillary Clinton, will want to see the nitty-gritty quid pro quo before acknowledging this obvious axiom about politics. The most recent analysis, I think, speaks for itself:
Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.
The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.
I don’t know why I’m still amazed at the capacity of partisans to rationalize away these icky implications, but they do, over and over and over again.
Yesterday I was involved in a Twitter spat with Jay Stevens, one of the founders of this humble blog. He was incredulous that Putin would defend FIFA corruption. But Putin, IMHO, isn’t defending FIFA corruption, he’s just playing geopolitics, same as the US. Anyone who thinks Russia is more corrupt than the US when it comes to getting the World Cup (or the Olympics) to gravy train corporate loot into their respective spheres is delusional.
So what’s the deal with America’s sudden interest in FIFA corruption?
At Moon of Alabama, b opens his post with this:
Today the U.S. ordered Swiss police to raid, incarcerate and extradite to the U.S. six FIFA officials for alleged corruption. The raid, with obviously pre-alarmed New York Times reporters on the scene, comes shortly before a FIFA vote to expel Israel from the association.
This Friday the world football association FIFA is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, for its 65th regular World Congress. One of the votes on the agenda (pdf) is about the “Suspension or expulsion of a member”. There is also an “Update on Israel-Palestine”.
When dealing with equally corrupt nation-states, especially cold war adversaries, there’s always something else going on than what the surface story describes. I wish more people in this particular nation-state were more discerning.
But we’re not, so any Putin-demonizing angle that can be conjured up will be enthusiastically consumed.
Politics = corruption. Proceed from that premise, and you may start understanding the movements behind the posturing.
I do my best around family to abstain from overt political diatribes (with limited success), but when my dad mocked North Korea’s request for a joint investigation into the Sony hack at dinner last night, I decided he needed a little more information about what the Sony hack has actually exposed.
For most people, when the laughing subsides, this issue is thought of as a free speech issue. Conservative blogger Douglas Ernst, for example, casts this as a make-it-or-break-it moment for free speech in America:
The Founding Fathers knew that the right to free speech was important, which is why it is covered in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as part of the Bill of Rights. Today, Dec. 17, 2014, is the day that U.S. capitulation clowns at Sony gave a dictator veto power over the free speech rights of its American artists and sent a message to thug regimes that if they have enough tech savvy, then they can make studio executives cower in fear.
The fallacious assumption here is that “The Interview” is a product of American artistry. It’s not. The reality is this movie is actually a piece of propaganda that involved the State Department and the Rand Corporation. From the link:
The Daily Beast reported yesterday on leaked emails from the Sony hack which show that the United States government was involved at high levels with the content development of The Interview, especially its controversial ending depicting the assassination of North Korean ruler Kim Jong-Un. As the report’s headline states, “Sony Emails Say State Department Blessed Kim Jong-Un Assassination in ‘The Interview.’” The emails also reveal that a RAND corporation senior defense analyst who consulted on the film went beyond “blessing” and outright influenced the end of the film, encouraging the CEO of Sony Entertainment to leave the assassination scene as it was (in spite of misgivings at Sony) for the sake of encouraging North Koreans to actually assassinate Kim Jong-Un and depose his regime when the movie eventually leaks into that country. According to the Sony CEO, a senior US State Department official emphatically and personally seconded that advice and reasoning in a separate correspondence. The emails also reveal that the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human-rights issues also consulted with Sony on the film.
While a tiny nation state possibly being involved in scuppering a movie premiere by hacking and threatening a Hollywood studio by proxy may be more novel and sensational than yet another psyop by the US Regime Change Machine, the latter is far more important. The United States, as part of its “Asian Pivot,” made an explicit push for assassination and regime change in yet another foreign country under the cover of art and commerce, and the North Korean regime and its ally China are both now 100% aware of it. That has huge implications for politics in the region, for US relations with those countries, for the character and integrity of American art and media, and for the mischievous, generally havoc-wreaking way our government is secretly using our tax dollars.
The reality of how this “film” was produced undermines the free speech argument conservatives like Ernst are peddling. We aren’t talking about art, here, we are talking about propaganda with real world impacts. Here’s more from the conservative nitwit who thinks he knows what he’s talking about:
Anyone who cares about free speech should be downright terrified that companies operating in the U.S. would run for the hills the moment a nebulous hacking group threatens Americans with violence. The fact that it was even under consideration to torpedo the film is an indicator that America’s cultural rotgut has grown to gargantuan proportions. We have been hollowed out from the inside, and Sony’s reaction to being hacked by the “Guardians of Peace” has exposed that sad reality for everyone to see.
No, what has been exposed here is a pathetic scheme by state and corporate actors to use a film as a sort of Trojan horse to propagate regime change in North Korea.
The free speech red herring was examined on Democracy Now yesterday. Here’s a bit from the transcript of the segment featuring Christine Hong’s perspective:
With regard to this film, one thing that I’d say is that the lines between truth and fiction are extraordinarily thin. I mean, the plot of this film, which very few people have seen, was actually screened in rough-cut form at the State Department. And the content of this film is supposedly—you know, it’s about the CIA using Hollywood entertainment and a talk-show host sort of vehicle as a kind of cover to assassinate the leader of North Korea. What’s interesting about this film is, on the one hand, it’s framed in the United States, in U.S. media, as a kind of free speech issue, but this is really a red herring. You know, what’s interesting to me about this is the fact that if you actually look at what the Sony executives did, they consulted very closely with the State Department, which actually gave the executives a green light with regard to the death scene. And they also consulted with a RAND North Korea watcher, a man named Bruce Bennett, who basically has espoused in thesis that the way to bring down the North Korean government is to assassinate the leadership. And he actually stated, in consulting with Sony about this film, that this film, in terms of the South Korean market, as well as its infiltration by defector balloon-dropping organizations into North Korea, could possibly get the wheels of a kind of regime change plot into motion. So, in this instance, fiction and reality have a sort of mirroring relationship to each other.
This isn’t a free speech issue. This is another example of America weaponizing whatever it can to move forward its agenda of global dominance.