Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sibel and Livingston Group

i just listened to the sibel / alex jones interview - he is a looney, a terrible interviewer, and doesn't have a clue about many facts. Sibel handled it pretty well, considering - mostly by ignoring him.

Mike pointed out - and i think he is correct, that this is the first time Sibel mentioned the
Livingston Group (i've written about Livingston here) . Curiously, she said that Livingstone didn't actually work for the Republic of Turkey. The Livingston website says that one of their clients is the "Republic of Turkey" - however Sourcewatch notes:
"The Livingston Group's lobbying return to the Department of Justice as required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act listed its work for the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey as providing "advice to the Ambassador from the Republic of Turkey. Numerous meetings were arranged with members of Congress, staff assistants, and other U.S. Government officials to discuss issues to create a more positive environment for Turkey.""
Is this a significant difference? maybe. Possibly very significant - my guess is that she is noting that it's the ambassador (and perhaps others at the embassy) that is corrupt, not the (current) Turkish government.

Incidentally, sibel says that Livingston was getting $1.2m p.a. from 'Turkey', although O'Dwyers reported that it was actually $1.8m p.a. (they quote a wapo article which i can't lay my hands on at the mo)

I wonder if Livingston actually has 2 clients - the Republic of Turkey, *and* the Embassy /Ambassador?

Sibel also said that she was offered a position as a special agent, essentially as a bribe. i don't think i knew that.

Incidentally, she also made a point that i've been trying to make here repeatedly - it's my best guess that most of the things we are discussing are best viewed through a prism of pure financial greed - not any ideology, and not because they are trying to manage any 'strategic' global power-balance issues or any such high-falutin ideas.
"SE: When it comes to money, you see that a lot of the other loyalties disappear. The loyalty becomes to the money"
it's the money, stupid. it always is.


Anonymous said...

When I think of people who engaged in treasonous activity for profit I think of Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen?

Maybe I'm wrong but I don't get the sense that this huge criminal enterprise is all about guys like Richard Perle wanting to be able to pay cash for their summer house.

Al Martin (conspiracyplanet.com) has suggested one motive is concentration of wealth. So there is a profit motive but there is also a larger motive to get rid of the American middle class and have something along the lines of rich vs. poor. He suggests the plan is to eventually crash the economy and the moneyed interests will buy capital on the cheap.


lukery said...

maybe you are right. as you know - my tendency is to assume that its all about money and/or power. i think it was donald trump who said 'its just a way of keeping score'.

perhaps one way to think about it is not to look at those convicted of treason and ask what their motives were, but rather to look at criminal enterprises and ask where they'd draw the line. would gotti and gambino draw the line at 'state secrets' because it was illegal? would viktor bout refuse to deal in arms becuase someone might get hurt?

you seem to think that treason is a special sort of crime - but that is only true if the perpetrator is a 'patriot'. if the perp considers themselves a global citizen, then 'treason' is just another word, another crime - and 'patriotism' is just for the rubes, something quaint like religion or the geneva conventions.

i assume that you accept that these people start wars just for fun/profit - but isnt starting wars (aka mass murder) much worse than treason?

or take a look at the entire egadministration - do you really think that they are tearing up the constitution 'to keep us safe'? do you really think they spy on people for the sincere benefit of others? do you think they kidnap and torture people offshore for anything that resembles 'patriotism'? do you think they lied about aluminium tubes for otherwise noble reasons that they can't tell us about?

i imagine that you think that cheney and rumsfeld and gonzales and rice and bush and yoo and powell (yes, him too) deserve the worst punishment available in the CJS - surely they are all guilty of high crimes and misdemeanours. are these crimes any 'better' than the crimes that you seem reluctant to ascribe to perle, prince of darkness? (i accidentally typed 'price of darkness' - let's hope they pay a heavy price for their darkness). surely cheney deserves a heavier penalty than Ames or Hansen.

as for Martin's argument (as you describe it), i accept that argument is a nearly-reasonable position that an observer might make. their fiscal behaviour is so extraordinarily irresponsible that we might be tempted to believe that their explicit goal is to disastrously fuck everything up completely - and the only conceivable reason they would do that intentionally is so that they could buy assets on the cheap. i must admit that there was a time when i thought the same - 3 years ago, when the amdebt and budget looked completely outta control (it looks even worse now, but it looked miserable then, too) - before katrina, before the cost of the iraq misadventure was apparent - and Blinky announced that he was gonna send people to mars. i was nearly certain at the time that the only possible conceivable logic was that they wanted to destroy the ameconomy (if Blinky says anything remotely similar in this upcoming sotu, congresscritters will demand their bribes in pesos and/or rubles rather than USD). but the logic of an engineered crash for the purpose of scooping up cheap assets in america doesnt make any sense in a global economy. i'd consider the possibilty if we were dealing with anything other than the american economy - but otherwise it doesnt make any financial/economic sense.

further, it doesn't make any sense to 'get rid of the middle class' - nobody wins in that scenario - certainly not in the longer term, which is the underlying premise of the argument (i wont make the case here, now, but i can if you like). and even if Martin's argument is valid, then the purported ultimate goal - "moneyed interests will buy capital on the cheap" - is exactly what i've been arguing - self-interested profit.

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting the US government is basically a criminal organization? Thus, if you happen to be a VIP you can do whatever you want as your activities will be protected "in the interests of national security." To fool the public there are puppet trials (Plame) and examples are made of non-VIPS (people like Hannsen).

Drug dealing, terrorism, weapon proliferation...merely opportunities to make money and create problems for thugs like Bush to solve, which in turn makes money for the military industrial complex.


lukery said...

"Are you suggesting the US government is basically a criminal organization?"

sort of.

perhaps if we take a step back and widen the lens a little. i will say that a) the military industrial entertainment complex is systemically 'corrupt' (aka broken) to the extent that we don't even necessarily need individual acts of corruption. the institutional forces are sufficient to lead to 'corrupt' outcomes. you know the old saying "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail" - well, when arms manufacturers own most of the TV networks, you can see how the coverage of any international problem might lean (at the margin) toward a military solution. we know that war was good for business even when media was independently owned (eg hearst) - the incentive to 'create' a war must be orders of magnitude greater when the owner also makes bombs and missiles.

separately, i will say that b) there are lots of criminals at the top of the USG (which is different from saying that the USG is itself a criminal enterprise).

at some point, the two issues will touch upon each other and/or actually merge - leading to some pretty nasty outcomes.

in terms of illegal drug and weapons networks, the frame of reference that i'm leaning towards is that it is something like a meta-version of abramoff's gig - where he would rally up an anti-gambling movement and then charge the casinos millions for blocking the purported change in legislation, and vice versa. abramoff's problem was that he was too greedy and wanted 100% of his main gig, and 50% of the other side of the equation as well. if he had simply background-supported some legitimate churches who have legitimate anti-gambling concerns, rather than Ralph Reed, he would probably still be in business today.

i imagine that the War On Drugs is probably similar somehow, where the criminal politicians use their resources to a) drive up prices and/or b) disrupt supply from competitors. As you noted, Mullah Omar did exactly this - he stockpiled 300 tons of heroin, then knocked out 90% of supply leading to a 1000% price increase. easy-peasy.

AFAIK, there aren't any logical reasons why alcohol is legal while marijuana is illegal. similarly, there's no reason why heroin isnt administered to junkies by governments. so why are these situations persistent? follow the money. eventually of course we get a bunch of invested interests that become institutionalized - i've mentioned before that i wouldnt be surprised if the prison lobby was the driving force behind the absurd prison sentences given to drug consumers and low level dealers.

there's lots of money to be made in drugs/arms trafficking (not least because of the legislative framework) which means there's lots of money to bribe officials. we take it as given that this sort of corruption exists in 3rd world countries everywhere - should we be surprised to see it in america? methinx not.