Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Black is the new Black

Yesterday i mentioned charlie black and BKSH. he's one of my favourites - i'd love to bring him down. i probably shouldn't have mentioned him, because now I won't stop talking about him again (with some prodding from starroute).

Here's one snippet:
""BKSH & Assocs., has been hired by The Lincoln Group, one of three firms selected last month by the U.S. Special Operations Command to wage psychological warfare on behalf of the Pentagon in Iraq and other hot spots," O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports. "BKSH has experience on the Iraqi front earned from work for Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress. ""
Not only did Lincoln sub out to BKSH, Lincoln also used BKSH as their lobbying firm. sweet.

Our man, Francis Brooke, is also BKSH (and rendon) alumni.

or there's this:
"and just to add a delicious twist or six - other clients include the ukranian, nigerian , haitian
governments, yukos oil and Radio Voice of Iran (and chalabi) - if theres an international 'happening' taking place, charlie black has his fingerprints on it. fancy that. chicken or egg?

if you ever wondered why we see on tv (and in policy) the stuff that we actually see, charlie black might be the answer. (their corporate clients include GM, GE and Glaxo (and thats just the G's')).

im not sure where the BKSH name comes from - but the other main guy apart from Black is Gardner Peckham (MD) - "Peckham worked as senior policy advisor to former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on defense, intelligence and international trade issues, as deputy assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs to Secretary Jim Baker and as an aide to national security advisor Brent Scowcroft""
"reminder: bksh is the grandson of Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, and the nephew (or some degenerate offspring) of Davis, Manafort and Freedman."
" BKSH, which is an evolution of Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly. The B is for charlie black - other BMSK-group alumni include Lee Atwater, Roger Stone, John Bolton and Matthew Freedman."
if you can't remember freedman:
"another BMSK alumn is Matthew Freedman - Freedman is the guy who got paid $100k p.a. to hang out in boltons office sometimes - and bolton wouldnt explain why he was there - or what he does - which is one of the reasons the Dems wouldnt bring his nomination to a vote in the senate. freedman refused to tell the sfrc who his clients are - but we know his previous clients include ferdinand marcos and the nigerian govt."
and then there's this, just for fun:
"I flew from Kyrgyzstan to Moscow to meet with other Black Manafort employees who were leading or subcontracted to other US AID projects. While there, I met with US AID officials and expressed my concerns about the project -- chief among them, the prime contractor's inability to keep enough cash in country to allow us to pay bills, which directly resulted in armed threats by Kyrgyz contractors to me and my staff.

Within hours of sending a letter to US AID officials outlining my concerns, I met John Bolton, whom the prime contractor hired as legal counsel to represent them to US AID. And, so, within hours of dispatching that letter, my hell began.

Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel -- throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman. For nearly two weeks, while I awaited fresh direction from my company and from US AID, John Bolton hounded me in such an appalling way that I eventually retreated to my hotel room and stayed there. Mr. Bolton, of course, then routinely visited me there to pound on the door and shout threats."
i could go on - but i'll outsource the rest to starroute:
Charlie Black is of BKSH is the same as this Charlie Black:
In the years of the Watergage scandal, Rove's career as a big-time political handler began with a motley crew of friends and associates. He was chairman of the College Republicans when George Herbert Walker Bush was chairman of the state Republican Party in 1973. He won the presidency of the College Republicans in a race against Terry Dolan. The late Lee Atwater, who later became famous as the political attack dog for the Reagan-Bush team, managed Rove's campaign. Dolan went on to become a Soft Money pioneer by helping form the National Conservative Political Action Committee, then died of AIDS in 1986 at age 36. Dolan's advisers in his loss to Rove were Charlie Black, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. Those three were later instrumental in the success of Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign.

Atwater joined the consulting firm of Black, Manafort and Stone after the '84 election. The firm later worked for the 1988 Bush-Quayle campaign. Two of Nixon's dirty tricksters also worked for Bush-Quayle: Frederick Malek, Bush's Republican National Committee rep, who had compiled lists of Jews in the Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of Nixon's investigation of a "Jewish Cabal;" and Dwight Chapin, who was jailed for lying to a grand jury about hiring Donald Sigretti to disrupt the 1972 Democratic primary campaign of Senator Edward Muskie. Chapin worked under Manafort in 1988. The firm's other clients included drug-connected Bahamian Prime Minister Oscar Pindling, Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and UNITA, the South African-supported Angolan rebel group led by CIA asset Jonas Savimbi. Lee Atwater lobbied for UNITA. All of which began when Atwater was introduced to George Bush in 1973, by his good friend Karl Rove.
So what's not to love?

"My jaw dropped guys, and may have come unhinged."

If you need any more - follow the links above (all are from this blog), or try searching here or here - or if you just want some random bksh dodginess, see here.


starroute said...

I'm not sure what you do or don't already have on Black and his associates -- but here's one example from my files. BKSH gets its initials from when it was Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healy. I don't know about Scruggs or Healy, but Kelly is apparently the token Democrat of the bunch:

Peter G. Kelly
Principal and Chairman, Updike, Kelly and Spellacy
Managing Director, Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, A Subsidiary of Burson-Marsteller

Peter Kelly has long been active in Democratic politics at the local, state and national level, in the world of business on a national and international level, and the practice of law in Connecticut and nationally. He has served as National Treasurer and National Finance Chairman of the Democratic Party. He was a member of the Democratic National Committee for sixteen years. He has served as senior political advisor to Albert Gore, Jr. in 1988 and 2000 and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Mr. Kelly was one of the architects of our country's democratization foundation structure. He was a founder, director and Treasurer of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and Chairman and director of The Center for Democracy, both based in Washington, D.C. He currently serves as Vice Chairman and director of IFES (formerly known as International Foundation for Election Systems) based in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Kelly—a graduate of Georgetown University, magna cum laude, and The Yale Law School— is a senior principal of Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C., a law firm with offices in Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut. He is a member of the bars of Connecticut, New York and the District of Columbia. He serves as a member of the Board and former Chairman of The PBN Company, a strategic planning firm with offices in Moscow, Kiev, Chisinau, Almity, Riga, London and Washington. He previously served as Chairman of Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healy, a Washington public affairs firm, and as Managing Director of Burson-Marsteller (Latin America).

So many fascinating names there! The National Democratic Institute, for example, which is the counterpart of the International Republican Institute, both of them acting as a conduit for National Endowment for Democracy funding to mess around overseas. Or IFES, which supposedly monitors fair elections but which -- like IRI and NDI -- has a reputation for serving US interests instead. Charlie Black's wife, Judy Black (also a lobbyist) is on the IFAS board. So is Robert Livingston.

I don't even know what the PBN Company does -- but I'm sure it would be fascinating to find out.

starroute said...

There's also Black's involvement in the Civitas Group:

Civitas Group, LLC, a "new consulting firm that will offer a full range of advisory services to private sector and government clients in the homeland security field," was launched on July 17, 2003. "Civitas is a joint venture between Stonebridge International LLC and BKSH & Associates, a WPP operating company. ... Civitas will offer a spectrum of services including strategic business guidance, facilitation of business partnerships, issue monitoring, executive recruitment, advocacy as well as government and corporate marketing and procurement assistance. ... Civitas also has established a strategic partnership with Good Harbor Consulting, LLC.


* Michael J. Hershman
* Samuel R. Berger, Co-Chairman; Chairman of Stonebridge International
* Charles R. Black, Jr., Co-Chairman; Chairman of BKSH & Associates

Board of Advisors

* Warren Bruce Rudman (R-NH); U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century / Hart-Rudman Commission; former Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
* Richard A. Clarke
* Joe M. Allbaugh, former FEMA Director under President Bush
* Kenneth A. Minihan, former Director of the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency and a Principal in the Paladin Capital Homeland Security Fund
* Jim B. Francis, Chairman of the Texas Public Safety Commission
* Kurt Campbell, Director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
* Robert H. Swindell, former Managing Director and head of U.S. Technology at Lehman Brothers

According to a story I found in the Google cache, which probably isn't available any more, BKSH "formed Civitas Group to help clients get homeland security accounts." Hershman and Berger currently seem to have dropped out of the deal -- but as far as I can tell, Black is still running things.

Joe Allbaugh's presence on the board of advisors is a fascinating note. So is Jim B. Francis:

After William Clements became the first GOP governor in Texas’ post-Reconstruction history in 1979, it fell to political operative James Francis to oversee the repayment of the campaign’s $7 million debt. To do so, Francis hired consultant Karl Rove to run a successful direct-mail blitz. Francis worked for Dallas oil and banking magnate Harvey “Bum” Bright from 1980 to 1996, helping to negotiate Bright’s purchase and sale of the Dallas Cowboys. Francis headed the 2000 Pioneer operation of Rove candidate George W. Bush. Francis says he started the Pioneers after people kept saying, “I really want to do something for George and I want to give you a big portion of my life.” Francis has been among Bush’s closest political confidantes. . .

Webb County hired Francis at $150,000 a year in 2001 and 2002 as part of its war with the City of Laredo to control revenue from a proposed new bridge into Mexico. Washington has refused to provide a permit for the international bridge until the locals settle this feud. Francis required the county to pay the same retainer to the Washington lobby firm of Black Kelly Scruggs & Healy (see Charlie Black).

The corruption just goes round and round and never seems to come to an end. On the other hand, the good news may be that since 2001, the greed and hubris levels have gotten pumped up so high that these people don't even attempt to hide any more. That makes them a whole lot easier to spot than they would have been previously.

lukery said...

thnx starroute.

a couple of things:
* Francis was also one of bush's Texas Public Safety Commissioners
* I see that Steny Hoyer, next House Majority leader is also on the IFES board. I read somewhere today that he's a complete hack, apart from the fact that he can raise squillions.
* Matthew Freedman (the guy who used to work in Bolton's office for no apparent reason, and who refused to disclose his client list during Bolton's SFRC hearings ) who i mentioned in the post went from BKSH to The PBN Company.

Melody Townsend (the woman who was harassed in Russia by Bolton in the BKSH days)
"John Bolton is a psychopath, plain and simple -- and my ex-boss Matthew Freedman is his Karl Rove."
"We also know that Matthew (Freedman) enjoyed top security clearances while there at state and, according to office scuttlebutt, took part in very high-level meetings involving Syrian intelligence. The kicker? He was continuing to represent private clients at the time he was participating in those meetings."

starroute said...

SourceWatch on PBN:

The PBN Company is a public relations firm headquartered in Washington, DC. It also has offices in London, Moscow, Kyiv (Kiev), Riga, Almaty, and Chisinau.

The company handles public relations for Victor Yushchenko, the western-leaning candidate in Ukraine's disputed presidential elections in 2004. The domain name is registered to Myron Wasylyk at PBN, and redirects to Yushchenko's campaign website at

A November 2001 media alert promoting a news conference at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) conference room for Yushchenko's Our Ukraine electoral bloc was put out by the PBN Company, and lists Wasylyk as the press contact.

So it all comes round to the National Endowment for Democracy, just as with Kelly. For example:

The U.S. government and allied forces' year-end installation of Victor Yushchenko as President of Ukraine have completed the field-testing of the "Post Modern Coup". Employing and fine-tuning the same sophisticated techniques used in Serbia in 2000 and Georgia in 2003 (and unsuccessfully in Belarus in 2001), it is widely expected that the United States will attempt to apply the same methods throughout the former Soviet Union. . . .

Much of the coup apparatus is the same that was used in the overthrow of President Fernando Marcos of the Philippines in 1986, the Tiananmen Square destabilization in 1989, and Vaclav Havel's "Velvet revolution" in Czechoslovakia in 1989.

As in these early operations, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and its primary arms, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), played a central role. The NED was established by the Reagan Administration in 1983, to do overtly, what the CIA had done covertly, in the words of one its legislative drafters, Allen Weinstein.

The Cold War propaganda and operations center, Freedom House , now chaired by former CIA director James Woolsey, has also been involved, as were billionaire George Soros' foundations, whose donations always dovetail those of the NED.

One thing that's really striking me here is that this group of people consists heavily of Bush cronies -- or perhaps, even more, of people with long-standing ties to Karl Rove. Charlie Black, Joe Allbaugh, Jim Francis. And you can add to that Vin Weber, head of NED, who's also tight with Bush and Rove.

The other notable thing about them is the extent to which they all seamlessly mix government employment, involvement with NED (which is technically an NGO, though overwhelmingly supported by federal funding), private lobbying or PR work, and opportunities at self-enrichment via homeland security or Iraq. Quite a nice little racket.