’A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt U.S. government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets.... Sibel Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator for the FBI, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office. Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.... She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents.”
These excerpts from an online article in the Times (London), suggest that the FBI may have been both investigating and sitting on a scandal of treason and corruption, of unprecedented magnitude. Of course, there would be vast repercussions - both diplomatic and political - if these allegations proved out in public. One can certainly imagine those repercussions standing large, in the minds of officials who must decide whether to reveal and/or prosecute. Alas, every conceivable rationalization for “discretion” falls apart:
--- Political appointees - and politically-connected civil servants - are highly motivated to make these rationalizations. They should recuse themselves, or face a steep burden of suspicion.
--- “The damage” (to international relations and public morale) “would be devastating” is a cop-out of titanic proportions. Both the world and our people showed great resiliency in past crises, even scandals like Watergate. In any event, openness is our national covenant. Despite the natural tendency of professionals to look down upon the masses, our wager has always been placed upon the people, and it has always proved justified.
--- Professionals tend to assume that what they see of the iceberg is all there is. But this assumption is always -- always -- proved wrong. Revealing and prosecuting will force traitors and corrupt officials to squeal on fellow rats. Whistle-blower rewards draw out more whistle-blowers.
--- The story suggests that some of the malignant behavior preceded 2001. If so, then perhaps, at last, there will be a smoking gun pointing to some Clinton Administration officials (not one of whom was ever even indicted for job related offenses.) In which case, an evenhanded housecleaning should purge the Democratic establishment of bad elements, as well.
--- Would revelations be “interfering in an electoral year?” What a rationalization. If anything, NOT revealing information that the voters need would be far more politically suspicious
--- When all is finally revealed, the early revealers will be heroes, while a presumption of complicity will fall upon those who delayed and obstructed. If there are agents who have solid evidence in hand, where does their duty lie? To their careers? Or to the nation?
For years, I have been urging that the professionals stand up. They were hired (and swore oaths) to protect us against enemies, both foreign and domestic. And, even if there is no “manchurian” scenario going on, there is more than enough reason to know, firmly, that our pros have failed to protect our nation, our society, our people, from the worst, most -piratical and least honorable clade ever to gain high influence in America. It is time to turn this around. I hope and trust some of them will.
There is a final rationalization for avoiding the kind of major scandal that we are talking about. Some of our top justice officials may tell themselves that the Bushites are almost out of power, and so, why put their backs against the wall, possibly driving them to desperate measures? Such as an “October Surprise” aimed at distracting public outrage. Why not just let Bush issue his Pardon Tsunami* upon leaving office, and get all this behind us? Yes, we’re in “thriller plot” territory here (it’s my job!) But when it comes to rationalizations, people can be very creative! There is an answer, of course. If all is revealed now, then the traitors and their sponsors will lose so much credibility that they would not dare try to pull any manipulative stunts. Thus putting all this in the open may protect us far better than keeping it all under wraps for a few months longer.
In any event, we need to make it clear to our beloved professionals. We hired you. We will look askance when (not if) it later becomes known that you kept secrets that we needed to know, before entering the polling booths.
(* See how to prepare and deal with the Pardon Tsunami.)
======PREPARING FOR THE NEXT BIG SCAM=======
"This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect, persons of poor and mean condition, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments."
- Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)
We all know Adam Smith as the author of the bible of capitalism, The Wealth of Nations (1776). But he first wrote what is arguably a far more important book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In both, his strong support of free and liberally competitive enterprise comes across with not only convincing conviction, but also something few today remember -- a very pronounced anti-aristocratic tone... which is one reason why the paid shills and intellectual callgirls at the American Enterprise Institute and Cato Foundation, etc, long ago stopped mentioning or citing the “founding sage of modern capitalism.”
All of which I contemplated when Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson unveiled the 218-page plan in a speech in Treasury's ornate Cash Room, declaring, "A strong financial system is vitally important — not for Wall Street, not for bankers, but for working Americans." Paulson rejected Democratic charges that it was lax regulation of mortgage brokers and the financial industry that had led to the current problems.
"I do not believe it is fair or accurate to blame our regulatory structure for the current market turmoil," he said. "I am not suggesting that more regulation is the answer or even that more effective regulation can prevent the periods of financial market stress that seem to occur every five to 10 years."
Note how he tries to portray as normal and cyclical the pain and damage that his administration has wrought, including the recent plummet of American creditworthiness -- the one crucial thing that Alexander Hamilton strove so hard to establish, at the beginning of our Republic. Note also, than none of his new proposals would stanch or even investigate the continuing flow of hundreds of billions of dollars out of our economy, into (1) petro-states, (2) “emergency clause” war-services contractors, or (3) an arterial-gush of balance-of-payments red ink. Three flows that were abetted and accelerated under this administration, and that easily equal the other two calamities (4) the lax mortgage lending practices and (5) the mad culture of speculative securitization of financial instruments that replaced responsible trade in real cash and debt.
One could go on and on... but I am not here to offer close-up economic analysis (blather that you can get elsewhere, from more-qualified, if shortsighted seers.) No, my task is to offer wide perspectives. So let me just add this.
People should open their watchful eyes now to whatever deep preparations that are being made, for the Next Big Scam. After all, many of the regulatory cracks that were exploited by this latest wave of thieves were actually planted years ago, many of them as “reforms” in the wake of the last kleptocratic raid, the infamous Savings and Loan Scandal. (That took place largely under the aegis of our president’s father.) Now that the horses have been stolen, sure, we’ll see the barn doors closed and re latched... while subtle strings are left in place for other doors to be burgled, in times to come.
Let’s give the raiders their due. They think and plan long term. Preparations for our present Neocon Putsch go way back, including the creation of an entire corps of master rationalizers, from Gingrich to Wolfowitz, Perle, Adelman, Nitze and so on, whose agile surface blather covered the real agenda -- setting America up for a blood-draining of epic proportions. Okay, so now, at last, the steer has begun responding to the pain. A passel of engorged vampire bats are scuttling to avoid its hooves. They may even lay low for a while, their greed briefly slaked, while the livestock recover a bit.
But remember folks, that is how they think of us. Would be lords of the right and the left (remember communism?) Only, now and then, these sheep look up.
===== More Neoconservative Apologias ===
For a special, gala, fifth anniversary of the Iraq War edition, The NY Times ran nine op-ed pieces, not one of them by anyone who had opposed it from the beginning. (well, I admit that I had no beef with taking out Saddam Hussein, since Bush Senior and Cheney/Rumsfeld had stained America’s honor by deliberately leaving that monster’s boot on the throat of a people, when it would have been trivial to save them; but I opposed from the start, the blatantly stupid and typically monstrous way that the son chose to correct that blunder.)
Ah, but the spin-meisters are so amusing to watch, almost every one of them squirming to evade blame. See especially one of the War boosters - Richard Perle - whine and contort, now blaming Colin Powell,of all people, for the monumental catastrophe that this endeavor in “nation building” has become. But... since Powell was gone VERY soon after the invasion, and neocon-connected companies like Halliburton have swallowed most of a trillion dollars, without delivering electricity to the Iraqi people, might even one of the Neoconservative Intellectual Shills ever wake up to how they were used, as frontmen for outright thievery? Ah, psychology.
One online commenter suggested that the Times (if they had any senses of irony) would have added a tenth neocon blame-retargeter... Stephen Colbert. Oh, if only!
Danielle Pletka's piece, at least, does a tepid “mea culpa I was wrong.” But with a whimpering “leave me alone” tone that repents only for having believed too idealistically in nation-building and the spreading of freedom by force - without ever mentioning that these had been central objects of ire and derision, denounced by her own American Enterprise Institute for decades, and above all when Bill Clinton tried, on a very small scale, to help in Bosnia and Somalia. That is, it was AEI doctrine, until those court catechists and apologists were commanded to reverse-the message, abruptly serving their masters’ new agenda. Pletska’s slinking return, now, to the older theme of isolationism suggests where the “conservative” spin will now head. “We admit we were too idealistic!” will be one of their cries, in the face of this calamity.
But not a thought or word will go toward the real purpose and effect of the Iraq Incursion... to provide “emergency” excuses for over-riding U.S. contracting laws and procedures, so that no-bid, crony deals might direct hundreds of billions straight into the pockets of... donors to the American Enterprise Institute. Without a whit of a care for whether the Iraqis ever get electricity again (perhaps enough electricity to turn on their “freedom gene?”)
The failure of liberals and democrats to even notice this central theme and purpose of the Iraq War, is one of the great, blithering stupidities of recent years. Perhaps it derives from their having heeded that bright dope, Michael Moore. (If it was "about oil", um, where's the oil?) Or maybe most people simply turn off their hearing, when dry matters like "contracting rules" are brought up. But this is THE way that up to a trillion dollars has been stolen during wartime, while the armed forces... and even the regular “military industrial complex”... have actually declined by attrition and starvation.
The crux: the very same Institute that styles itself as a protector of American Enterprise has been, instead, a principal rationalizer and enabler of the greatest kleptocratic raid upon our nation in its history. So much for “enterprise.” It is not by our standards they Pletka and her peers stand revealed as traitors and monsters. It is by their own.
=== AND FINALLY ======
The perfect “ostrich ammo” can be found in a book by Victor Gold, Invasion of the Party Snatchers: How the Holy-Rollers and the Neo-Cons Destroyed the GOP
And I’ll add a lagniappe below, under comments... just something I’ve had lying around for a while. A rumination about the infamous “largesse” aphorism, that smug elitists have long used as a blithe dismissal of democracy.