“Treason is like diamonds; there is nothing to be made by the small trader”
~ Douglas Jerrold.
~ Douglas Jerrold.
On Friday, January 5, Joseph Ralston was the guest speaker at a meeting of the World Affairs Council in Anchorage, Alaska. There's a short report on the luncheon, by Nancy B. King:
I thoroughly enjoyed General Ralston's presentation. He's a good speaker. As Special Envoy to Turkey it is his task to work with Turkey and the Kurds to get Turkey to be less hostile to the Kurds and to try to get the small minority of Kurds to quit making terrorists forays from northern Iraq into Turkey. (The Kurds also make terrorists forays into Iran.) The Kurds want to create a Kurdish country by annexing the Kurd part of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey. Turkey is totally uninterested in this idea. General Ralston is trying to get the Kurdish government to squelch the terrorists. He thinks that if the Kurds are unwilling or unsuccessful in stopping their terrorists from going into Turkey, that by later this spring Turkey will invade northern Iraq to stop it.
The analogy that Ralston used was how would we feel if a band of terrorists kept regularly coming across the border from Mexico with car bombs, etc, and the Mexican government did nothing about it.
The analogy would be appropriate if the US were engaged in genocide of the Mexican people, and if the US had, I would support the Mexican people in their struggle for their right to life and dignity. I guess Ralston didn't mention that the US had been talking to PKK's eastern wing, PJAK, because the US would love nothing more at this moment than to make "terrorist forays" into Iran. That's what the raid in Hewlêr was all about.
Later, on the night of January 5, Rastî received a comment on this post, from Anchorage:
Gen. Joseph Ralston addressed a group here in Anchorage, Alaska today. He clearly was uncomfortable addressing the conflict as a member of the Lockheed Martin board of directors. We did not even address the issue of his status as a registered lobbyist for Lockheed Martin as part of the Cohen Group.
Gen. Ralston may indeed bring a positive force to the whole PKK issue...which appears at first blush to be a lose-lose situation. But the Lockheed connections really cloud the issue.
Here sits Gen. Ralston: Presidential Envoy; registered lobbyist for both the American Turkish Council and Lockheed Martin.
Hmmm. The f-16 deal is a done deal. Next on the dock is a $10 billion purchase of the new Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF aircraft.
Hmm. Yeah, that's a lot of money, isn't it? And money talks.
Joseph Ralston will never be a positive force for the situation of the Kurdish people under Turkish occupation or for their defense force, the PKK, because the American people are not interested in the lives of those thousands of miles away. They are not interested in democracy or human rights, or any of the other advertising gimmicks they use to engage in warfare. And let's be honest, shall we? The September 11 attacks only resulted in the deaths of some 3,000 people, a number that doesn't even register on the genocide scale, nor does it begin to approach the numbers of Kurds who have been slaughtered by America's allies, with American assistance, in the last three decades alone. I won't even venture to guess at the number of survivors who have been brutalized by torture at the hands of America's allies.
Nancy B. King is your average American and has the concerns of the average American. She writes books on how to invest in the stockmarket thinks about "investing in common stocks and living life in an ordinary way." In other words, average Americans don't give a damn about the fact that the returns on their investments is soaked in the blood of the Kurdish people and many others as a result of the War on Terror, Inc.
Think that my complaint is simply the reaction of an old malcontent Marxist, who would be anti-American no matter the situation? Think about the conflict of interest that the Ralston appointment as the "special envoy" to counter the PKK for American client state, Turkey, and then take a look at something written by Richard Cummings, at "Lockheed Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" from Playboy Magazine (sorry guys, the only photo there is of the Lockheed Martin F-35):
In November of 2002, Stephen J. Hadley, deputy national security advisor, asked Bruce Jackson to meet with him in the White House. They met in Hadley's office on the ground floor of the West Wing, not far from the offices of Vice President Dick Cheney and then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Hadley had an exterior office with windows, an overt indicator of his importance within the West Wing hierarchy.
This was months before Secretary of State Colin Powell would go to the United Nations to make the administration's case for the invasion of Iraq, touting the subsequently discredited evidence of weapons of mass destruction. But according to Jackson, Hadley told him that "they were going to war and were struggling with a rationale" to justify it. Jackson, recalling the meeting, reports that Hadley said they were "still working out" a cause, too, but asked that he, Jackson, "set up something like the Committee on NATO" to come up with a rationale.
Jackson had launched the U.S. Committee on NATO, a nongovernmental pressure group, in 1996 with Hadley on board. The objective of the committee, originally called the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO, was to push for membership in the NATO military alliance for former Soviet bloc countries including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
What Bruce Jackson came up with for Hadley this time, in 2002, was the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. The mission statement of the committee says it was "formed to promote regional peace, political freedom and international security by replacing the Saddam Hussein regime with a democratic government that respects the rights of the Iraqi people and ceases to threaten the community of nations." The pressure group began pushing for regime change -- that is, military action to remove Hussein -- in the usual Washington ways, lobbying members of congress, working the media and throwing money around. The committee's pitch, or rationale as Hadley would call it, was that Saddam was a monster -- routinely violating human rights -- and a general menace in the Middle East.
"I didn't see the point about WMDs or an Al Queda connection," Jackson says. In his mind the human rights issue was sufficient to justify a war.
Jackson had long been a proponent of unseating Hussein, and the committee dovetailed with his quite real sense of mission. In addition to his role in the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and the U.S. Committee on NATO, he had also been president of the Project for Transitional Democracies, organized to "accelerate democratic reform" in Eastern Europe.
Still, there is another way to view Jackson's activities. As The New York Times put it in a 1997 article, "at night Bruce Jackson is president of the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO, giving intimate dinners for senators and foreign officials. By day, he is director of strategic planning for Lockheed Martin Corporation, the world's biggest weapons maker."
[ . . . ]
These "blow-dried Republican lobbyists," as one Washington district court judge calls them, wield far more power than most of the elected officials in town. Forget dime-a-dozen congressmen. It's these operatives who get the best tables at the Capital Grille, where the power brokers lunch and sup. The lobbyists have their own lockers there, with personalized nameplates, where they store their vintage wines, ports and whiskies. They dine on the fine aged beef you can see through a window that allows guests to gaze into the refrigerated meat storage area. These people make up the K Street oligarchy that, despite all the vituperative rhetoric in recent years about campaign finance reform and insidious special interests, run Washington.
[ . . . ]
Of course, all the frothing at the mouth about lobbyists, money and special interests can seem from outside the Beltway as much ado about nothing. The government hands out contracts. The beneficiaries or those who want to be beneficiaries buy steak dinners for the officials who hold the purse strings. Big deal. The problem, though, is that, upon closer scrutiny, this is not how the system works. It's actually much more sinister than that, allowing the interests of America to be subverted by the interests of corporate America. As you'll see here, your elected officials did not deliberate on how best to protect their constituents, decide bombing Iraq was the best way and then order some provisions and weapons. On the contrary, this is the story of how Lockheed's interests, as opposed to those of the American citizenry, set the course of U.S. policy after 9/11.
[ . . . ]
By the time the committee [for the Liberation of Iraq] had assembled, they had a number of contacts in the Bush administration -- many of whom also had connections. Bush had appointed Powell A. Moore assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs serving directly under Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. From 1983 until 1998, when he had become chief of staff to Republican Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee, Moore was a consultant and vice president for legislative affairs for Lockheed.
Albert Smith, Lockheed's executive vice president for integrated systems and solutions, was appointed to the Defense Science Board. Bush had appointed former Lockheed chief operating officer Peter B. Teets as undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office, where he made decisions on the acquisition of reconnaissance satellites and space-based elements of missile defense. Former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, the only Democrat appointed by Bush to his cabinet, worked for Lockheed, as did Bush's Secretary of the Navy, Gordon England. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican National Committee before becoming the governor of Mississippi, worked for a Lockheed lobbying firm. Joe Allbaugh, national campaign manager of the Bush-Cheney ticket and director of FEMA during the first two years of the Bush administration (he appointed his college friend Michael Brown as FEMA's general counsel), was a Lockheed lobbyist for its rapidly growing intelligence division.
Dick Cheney's son-in-law, Philip J. Perry, a registered Lockheed lobbyist who had, while working for a law firm, represented Lockheed with the Department of Homeland Security, had been nominated by Bush to serve as general counsel to the Department of Homeland Security. His wife, Elizabeth Cheney, serves as deputy assistant secretary of state for Middle Eastern affairs.
Vice President Cheney's wife, Lynne, had, until her husband took office, served on the board of Lockheed, receiving deferred compensation in the form of half a million dollars in stock and fees. Even President Bush himself has a Lockheed Martin connection. As governor of Texas, he had attempted to give Lockheed a multimillion-dollar contract to reform the state's welfare system.
Soon after taking office in 2001, Bush had also appointed Lockheed president and CEO Robert J. Stevens to his Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry. The future of that industry was, of course, in an expanding defense budget, and a war in Iraq wouldn't hurt Lockheed's bottom line.
The article also notes that Lockheed Martin provided the start-up funds for the ultra-conservative The Weekly Standard, and continued its support of that propaganda site by becoming one of its paid advertisers. The Weekly Standard editors, William Kristol and Fred Barnes, are permanent fixtures on FOX News. Stephen Hadley, deputy national security advisor in 2002 and Condoleeza Rice's replacement as national security advisor when she moved into the office of the Secretary of State in 2004; Stephen Hadley, the guy who got the ball rolling for the creation of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, worked for Shea & Gardner, a DC law firm that counted Lockheed Martin among its war contractor clients.
More on Hadley's work for Lockheed at Shea & Gardner, from VoltaireNet.org:
Unknown to the public at large, Stephen Hadley has carried on a brilliant career in the shadow of Brent Scowcroft and Condoleeza Rice. A business lawyer convicted of fraud, he became the lawyer of the largest arms manufacturer in the world, Lockheed Martin. He trained the candidate George W. Bush, wrote up the new nuclear doctrine, prepared the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, supervised new entries into NATO, and sold the invasion of Iraq. Ever faithful, he protected Bush the father from the Irangate scandal and Bush the son from the lies of the Iraq war.
[ . . . ]
As lawyer for Lockheed Martin, Hadley was in contact with the directors of the firm, notably Lyne Cheney (wife of Dick). He became close with Bruce P. Jackson, the vice-president of the firm in charge of conquering new markets. They developed together the US Committee to Expand NATO into which they brought Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. The Committee steered the entry of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999. Then that of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latonia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Each time, the leaders of the new member States were solicited to bring their armies up to the norms of NATO, that is to say, to purchase material from Lockheed Martin. The pressure was so strong that certain of them denounced "the racket" into which they were forced.
Obviously, the Committee on NATO was a front for pushing more Lockheed Martin product. Also note at the VoltaireNet article, that Hadley, like new Defense Secretary Robert Gates, is another protege (Read: lapdog) of the American Turkish Council's Brent Scowcroft. Hadley was also the guy behind the claim that Saddam's Iraq had acquired Nigerian yellowcake, again from Richard Cummings:
With the 2002 election over and Democrats increasingly hawkish on Iraq, Bush made his State of the Union address on January 29, 2003, uttering this now famous line: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The threat of Saddam Hussein was established and the American people bought it. And the person claiming responsibility for leaving that line in was Hadley.
[ . . . ]
Yet when Colin Powell resigned as secretary of state and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice took his place, Stephen Hadley was promoted to take her position as national security advisor. Hadley's "error" had enabled Bush to go to war, the big payoff for Lockheed Martin.
Cummings' article discusses how Lockheed Martin got the British on board as the other main ally in Iraq--by bailing out a sinking BAE Systems. According to Cummings, this allowed BAE to continue work on the Eurofighter Typhoon, which the Saudis purchased. However, Cummings doesn't go into the situation of Lockheed Martin's Joseph Ralston as the driving force behind the Turkish general staff's choice of the Lockheed Martin F-35, as the exclusive, new generation fighter aircraft for Turkey, overriding the Turkish civilian government's preference for a purchase that would include both the F-35 and the Typhoon. The wider implication here is that Lockheed Martin is meddling in Turkey's EU accession process and the creation of a truly democratic government in Turkey. The proper implementation of the Cophenhagen Criteria would see the ouster, once and for all, of the military dictatorship that has tyrannized the people in Turkey since 1923.
It is Lockheed Martin's Joseph Ralston who is enabling the continued existence of the Turkish military's control of the country. But, just as the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq was closed in 2003 because the "human rights rationale for the war had been abandoned," so the same thing is happening in Turkey. The revolving door between government officials and Lockheed Martin is still operating, thus proving to all of us who it really is that benefits from the "spread of democracy" in the Middle East.
The article closes, thusly:
In March of 2006, Lockheed Martin won the lion's share of a $20 billion contract by the U.S. Army to develop cutting-edge technology to support the Army's "reconnaissance, communications, surveillance and intelligence gathering in combat situations." According to Lockheed spokeswoman Wendy Owen this was a "major victory" for Lockheed Martin, which has been aggressively promoting its systems and information technology divisions, which account for half of its business. It already provides surveillance services for United States ports.
That night, March 16, when the local press announced the $20 billion contract, Cafe Citron, off Dupont Circle, was packed with revelers. Latin music throbbed as they laughed and shouted, partying with abandon, knocking down the drinks. For those in the war business, life is good.
There you have your average Americans, celebrating another deal that will increase Lockheed Martin's stock value. I suppose the idea that all of those involved with Lockheed Martin are guilty of treason and are deserving of a traitor's fate, in addition to their complicity with war crimes and crimes against humanity has never occured to the revellers. I hope that one day, they and their families will find themselves on the receiving end of Lockheed Martin's products, as have so many Kurds in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan.
Ax, March 16 . . . that is a date that anyone worthy of the name "Kurd" recognizes instantly. Does the significance of that date in this context indicate an example of irony or is it a a foretoken of the future?