Cheap Thrills


Just how cheap and easy are the muckity-mucks of the Bushist Party? How much scratch does it take for a high official of the Regime to overrule his own intelligence officers and support the Potomac Empire’s propaganda line? What’s the going rate for selling out the United States Constitution and throwing in with the fomenters of aggressive war?


That’s what the Busha Nostra paid Thomas Rider, director of the Department of Energy’s intelligence agency in “bonuses” for services rendered in the mendacious maneuvering toward war, Paul Sperry of the archconservative WorldNet Daily reports.

Rider was named acting head of DOE’s intelligence service shortly before the Regime rolled out what White House chief of staff Andrew Card called, with admirable candor, the Bushist’s “new product”: a “pre-emptive” war against Iraq. The PR campaign kicked off in September 2002–because “from a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August,” Card helpfully explained to the NY Times.

One key to the kick-off was a gathering of intelligence brass from throughout the government to put together a “National Intelligence Estimate” on Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. (They were still talking about “weapons,” not “programs” or “materials” back in those innocent days of yore.) The report was slapped together at top speed: Congress was due to vote in October on Bush’s demand for a blank check to kill thousands of swarthy Arabs whenever he took the notion, so the NIE had to be ready soon–and it had to be really, really scary.

The Energy Department, of course, was expert in nuclear matters, and its voice would carry great weight when considering evidence that Saddam was preparing a mushroom-cloud casserole for the heartland of the Homeland. There was only one hitch: Energy’s senior intelligence officers agreed there was no such evidence. Whatever evil dreams might lurk in Saddam’s heart, they said, he had not “reconstituted his nuclear weapons program.”

But Rider, a longtime “human resources” bureaucrat with zero experience in intelligence matters, had not been plonked down in this important post just to whistle Dixie–or to listen to a bunch of silly-billy experts. He had a job to do–and had already received a little pre-meeting sweetener bonus of $7,500 to do it. When the experts came forth with their analysis of the White House warmongers’ bogus evidence, Rider responded in true Bushist style: he told them to “shut up and sit down.”

So the Energy Department threw its official weight behind the nuclear claims of the NIE, which was then duly forwarded to the trembly time-servers in Congress–who couldn’t wait to abandon their solemn constitutional duty to declare war (or not). They sent their slavish submission to the Supremely Appointed One, begging him to do as he pleased, whenever he pleased, with that big bad mushroom-man across the sea. The rest, of course, is history. (Or would be history, if the Bushists and their beavering sycophants in the national media didn’t spend so much time revising it.)

Rider, too, was history. Having done his solemn unconstitutional duty, the clueless placeman was paid off with an additional $13,000 “performance bonus” and sent out to graze on other government pastures. All in all, a remarkable bargain–especially when you consider that the Regime paid $30 million for the whack on the two Hussein brothers, while Rider played a key role in the death of thousands of innocent civilians in an unjust war. Who knows? By the time the Bushist looting party has wrung its last cent out of Iraq’s national wealth–using America’s own soldiers as sitting-duck decoys for the old Potomac bait-and-switch–the pay-off to Rider might turn out to be as cheap as a dollar a head.

Hey, these Regime guys weren’t CEOs for nothing!

Of course, Rider’s tale is but a sordid little sidelight in the global Grand Guignol that Bush is staging for the entertainment and enrichment of his extremist clique. But it’s an instructive example of how these particular racketeers operate: public service and private profit are viewed as a seamless (not to mention seamy) whole. And when truth will not serve their purposes, they are more than happy to lie–and pay–to get what they want.

This salient point should be remembered as the Regime rolls out a brand-new “product” come September: its report on the search for Saddam’s elusive WMD. The CIA hired former UN weapons inspector David Kay, one of the most gung-ho drumbeaters for the war, to find, well, something in Iraq: plans, pop-guns, vats of goo–anything that might be massaged into a one-day headline for the credulous mouthbreathers in the media (“White House: We Found WMD!”), before, like those fabled “trailers of mass destruction” Bush once cited so definitively, it all dissolves in a back-page mist of hedging, qualification, retraction and debunking.

It goes without saying that Kay is not exactly a disinterested party. Until last fall, when he went to work as an “independent” consultant touting the Bush war “product,” Kay was vice president of Scientific Applications International Corporation, a secretive high-tech defense company that pockets billions of Pentagon dollars–and is hip-deep in the Iraq conquest. Any conclusion by Kay that discredits the Bush war would erode SAIC’s bottom line–not to mention the credibility of a certain well-paid drumbeater named David Kay. So there will be no such conclusion.

As always, it’s a rigged game–the only kind these jokers ever play.

CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. His CounterPunch piece on Rumsfeld’s plan to provoke terrorist attacks came in at Number 4 on Project Censored’s final tally of the Most Censored stories of 2002. He can be reached at: cfloyd72@hotmail.com


Chris Floyd is a columnist for CounterPunch Magazine. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at www.chris-floyd.com.

Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability
Yves Engler
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry
Tom H. Hastings
ISIS and Changing the Game
John Halle
A Yale Education as a Tool of Power and Privilege
Norman Pollack
Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation
Sheldon Richman
Let the Refugees In
Ron Jacobs
Rosa Luxembourg–From Street Organizer to Street Name
James A Haught
The Values of Jesus
Binoy Kampmark
British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard
Ed Rampell
45 Years: A Rumination on Aging
November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
Sam Husseini
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey