FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Clintons and Colombia

by

If ever there was a couple 
who left a sour taste in the mouth by the manner of their parting it was surely 
Bill and Hillary Clinton. From time to time, against our better judgment, we’ve tried to summon some sympathy for them, and time after time they’ve brusquely brought us back to Earth
with some bleak reminder of their all-round rottenness. Try 
Colombia. Less than 48 hours before Bill Clinton quit the White House, with a legal 
deal covering his own ass, his administration announced that it would employ
 a highly questionable legal interpretation of “Plan Colombia”–the
 $1.3 billion in aid going mostly to the Colombian military. The interpretation 
allowed the administration to dodge entirely any certification or waiver of
 human rights conditions attached to the aid, thus circumventing the whole certification 
process in providing money to the Colombian government. Now, these human rights certifications were the object of fierce lobbying by human
 rights groups all through the year 2000. After the certification was added, proponents of the
 plan tried to undermine human rights stipulations by adding the “waiver” 
option to the aid. You can argue that the experience of similar lobbying in
the 1980s over aid to Central America should have instructed the groups in the 
folly of expecting any administration to honor such commitments, but this doesn’t
 diminish the squalor and cynicism of what the Clinton team did in its dying 
hours. In August of 2000, Clinton waived four of the five human rights criteria laid out by Congress 
to release the first chunk of $781.5 million. A certification or waiver was
also required for the second installment of $56.4 million. Two Democratic senators, Paul Wellstone and Tom Harkin, called on Clinton as late as last week to reject 
a waiver for the second slice because the Colombian government had “failed 
to make significant progress” on human rights. But the State Deptartment’s 
Richard Boucher said the Clinton administration had decided that because the 
second slice of aid was not included in “regular funds,” but rather 
in an emergency spending bill, the certification and waiver process did not
apply. With virtually no opportunity for the human rights community to
respond, the Clinton administration effectively created a way to avoid the
whole question of human rights in Colombia. As 
Jack Laun of the Colombia Support Network said bitterly, “This unilateral 
interpretation trivializes the role of Congress in allocating funds and undermines
the work of countless human rights organizations that have testified time and
again to the need to consider human rights abuses in Colombia.” There’s
 bipartisanship for you, in the deeper sense. George Bush the Elder left office 
in 1993, having signed Christmas pardons for Reagan-Bush era officials who’d 
broken the law by breaching congressional prohibition on aid to the Nicaraguan 
Contras. Here we have Clinton and Madeleine Albright doing a last-minute end run around
 a modest congressional roadblock against sending U.S. dollars destined in considerable 
part to Colombia’s paramilitary death squads. One final parting shot, taken while no one was watching, just to show you where they really stand. This is a fragment from a book project that Alex and I had been working on about the lingering influence of the Clintons after the White House years, tentatively titled Clintons in Exile, that may yet see the light of day. Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of NatureGrand Theft Pentagon and Born Under a Bad Sky. His latest book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

June 30, 2016
Richard Moser
Clinton and Trump, Fear and Fascism
Pepe Escobar
The Three Harpies are Back!
Ramzy Baroud
Searching for a ‘Responsible Adult’: ‘Is Brexit Good for Israel?’
Dave Lindorff
What is Bernie Up To?
Thomas Barker
Saving Labour From Blairism: the Dangers of Confining the Debate to Existing Members
Jan Oberg
Why is NATO So Irrational Today?
John Stauber
The Debate We Need: Gary Johnson vs Jill Stein
Steve Horn
Obama Administration Approved Over 1,500 Offshore Fracking Permits
Rob Hager
Supreme Court Legalizes Influence Peddling: McDonnell v. United States
Norman Pollack
Economic Nationalism vs. Globalization: Janus-Faced Monopoly Capital
Binoy Kampmark
Railroaded by the Supreme Court: the US Problem with Immigration
Howard Lisnoff
Of Kiddie Crusades and Disregarding the First Amendment in a Public Space
Vijay Prashad
Economic Liberalization Ignores India’s Rural Misery
Caroline Hurley
We Are All Syrians
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail