FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Swing Blades

by CHRIS FLOYD

It’s a well-known fact–oft detailed in this column–that the boys in the Bush Regime swing both ways. We speak, of course, of their proclivity–their apparently uncontrollable craving–for stuffing their trousers with loot from both sides of whatever war or military crisis is going at the moment.

That’s why it came as no surprise to read last week that just before he joined the Regime’s crusade against evildoers everywhere (especially rogue states that pursue the development of terrorist-ready weapons of mass destruction), Pentagon warlord Donald Rumsfeld was trousering the proceeds from a $200 million deal to send the latest nuclear technology–including plenty of terrorist-ready “dirty bomb” material–to the rogue state of North Korea, Neue Zurcher Zeitung reports.

In 1998, Rumsfeld was citizen chairman of the Congressional Ballistic Missile Threat Commission, charged with reducing nuclear proliferation. Rumsfeld and the Republican-heavy commission came down hard on the deal Bill Clinton had brokered with North Korea to avert a war in 1994: Pyongyang would give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for normalized relations with the United States, plus the construction of two non-weaponized nuclear plants to generate electricity. The plants were to be built by an international consortium of government-backed business interests called KEDO.

Rum deal, said Rummy: those nasty Northies would surely turn the peaceful nukes to nefarious ends. What’s more, even the most innocuous nuclear plant generates mounds of radioactive waste that could be made into “dirty bombs”–hand-carried weapons capable of killing thousands of people. The agreement was big bad juju that threatened the whole world, Rumsfeld declared.

Of course, that didn’t prevent him from trying to profit from it. Even while he chairing commission meetings on the “dire threat” posed by the Korean program, Rumsfeld was junketing to Zurich for board meetings of the Swiss-based energy technology giant, ABB, where he was a top director. And what was ABB doing at the time? Why, negotiating that $200 million deal with North Korea to provide equipment and services for the KEDO nuclear reactors, of course!

Yes, nuclear proliferation is ugly stuff–but you might as well squeeze a few dollars from it, right? A smart guy always plays the angles–and, as the hero-worshiping American media never stop telling us, Rumsfeld is one smart guy.

In fact, he’s so smart that he’s now playing dumb. A Pentagon spokesman says Rumsfeld “can’t recall” discussing the Korean deal at ABB board meetings. And his erstwhile ABB corporate colleagues say that it’s possible the subject never came up. Of course it didn’t; going into the nuclear business with a Communist tyranny that very nearly launched a nuclear war against the West just four years before, in a deal that involved high-level negotiations with the governments of the United States, South Korea, Japan and the European Union–that’s certainly the kind of thing that would be handled by a couple of junior executives in a branch office somewhere. Nothing for the bigwigs–especially hard-wired government players like Rumsfeld–to trouble their pretty heads about. A perfectly reasonable explanation.

And so Rumsfeld joins the roster of Bush Regime multimillionaires who once trumpeted their “business savvy” as selling points for their right to national leadership but now claim to have been “hands-off” figureheads who had no idea what their companies were up to. Bush, in his sinkhole of insider trading and stockholder scamming at Harken; Cheney, making fat deals with Saddam Hussein (yes, after the Gulf War) and muddying up the corporate books at Halliburton; Army Secretary Thomas White, gaming the power grid and stealing millions for Enron in the manufactured California “energy crisis”–all of them went from mighty moguls to mere “front men” the instant their corruption was brought to light. None of it was their fault; nothing ever is.

Whatever happened to Bush’s much-trumpeted “era of responsibility?” These guys are not only chiselers, hustlers, hypocrites and war profiteers–they’re a bunch of gutless wonders as well. So you’ll pardon us if we are just the tiniest bit cynical about the “moral arguments for war” and other such buckets of warm spit this gang is now forcing down the world’s throat.

Postscript 1: Losing the Plot And what became of that 1994 pact with North Korea? UN inspectors entered the country to make sure the weapons program was put on ice. Pyongyang signed a number of lucrative deals with various politically-connected Western firms, like ABB, to build the promised energy plants, while waiting for the normalization of relations with the United States to begin–a move which most observers thought would set North Korea on a course toward China-style “moderation” of its monolithic regime.

But normalization never came. Clinton, pressured by rightwing forces (such as Rumsfeld’s commission) who opposed any truck whatsoever with godless commies, did his usual folding number, with much windy suspiration of forced breath–and no action. The KEDO companies pocketed Pyongyang’s cash but dithered about the actual construction. Pyongyang–while not exactly a font of smiling cooperation itself–concluded that the pact was being deep-sixed. This suspicion was confirmed when Bush took office, calling Korean leader Kim Jong Il a “pygmy” and declaring the county part of the “Axis of Evil.”

Pyongyang then accelerated its weapons program, kicked out the UN inspectors, and is now threatening to unleash a nuclear war if Bush, a la Iraq, makes a “pre-emptive strike.”

A dicey situation, sure–but at least Don Rumsfeld made some money out of it.

Postscript 2: Red Don Rising The Korean caper was not the first time Rummy signed up for both teams, of course. There is the little matter of his former financial tryst with the leaders of Communist China -a most Bushian affair, featuring ruling family members profiting from Daddy’s government power.

It happened on this wise. A few months after Rumsfeld joined the Bush Regime stable, the American master of war bagged an estimated $500,000 by cashing in his joint investment with Jiang Mianheng, son of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin. The pair had been partnered in Shanghai’s Red Flag Software, which is used by the godless Chinese commies to, er, block attempts by American spies to penetrate Beijing’s computer networks. Naturally, Red Rum was not bothered by these national security considerations–not when there was easy money to be had.

Politically-Connected Insiders of the World, Unite!

CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at: cfloyd72@hotmail.com

 

More articles by:

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

February 22, 2018
Jeffrey Sommers
Bond Villain in the World Economy: Latvia’s Offshore Banking Sector
Mark Schuller
Haiti’s Latest Indignity at the Hands of Dogooders, Oxfam’s Sex Scandal
T.J. Coles
How the US Bullies North Korea, 1945-Present
Ipek S. Burnett
Rethinking Freedom in the Era of Mass Shootings
Manuel E. Yepe
Fire and Fury: More Than a Publishing Hit
Patrick Bobilin
Caught in a Trap: Being a Latino Democrat is Being in an Abusive Relationship
Laurel Krause
From Kent State to Parkland High: Will America Ever Learn?
Terry Simons
Congress and the AR-15: One NRA Stooge Too Many
George Wuerthner
Border Wall Delusions
Manuel García, Jr.
The Anthropocene’s Birthday, or the Birth-Year of Human-Accelerated Climate Change
Thomas Knapp
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate
February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail