The Carlyle Group-Busted! But Skates On Much More.

May 23, 2009
Carlyle Group

Carlyle Group

The Carlyle Group, primary home for half of the former Reagan and Bush administration defense, CIA chiefs and presidents 41 and 43 was nabbed in a play for pay scheme throwing $13 million in bribes to New York pension fund directors to elicit contracts. New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said:

Carlyle had agreed to $20 million to “resolve its role” in the ongoing corruption investigation and agreed to a new code of conduct that prohibits the use of such middlemen.

Carlyle enlisted the aid of a “fixer”, Hank Morris, and “paid Morris through shell companies he controlled”.

Carlyle then received more than $730 million in New York state pension funds for five different projects, according to Cuomo.

Carlyle employees also made about $78,000 in campaign contributions to Comptroller Hevesi’s campaign in 2005 and 2006, according to Cuomo, some solicited by Morris.

Finally.  Carlyle caught with it’s pants down mooning the public.

But the whole deal seems amateurish and penny ante compared to their propensity for buying up military contractors before and while declaring “war on terror”.

General Dynamics Tank

General Dynamics Tank

Carlyle chairman, Frank Carlucci, former defense department chief during the Reagan years and head of defense contractor, General Dynamics, was unhappy about the fortunes of his industry during the late 1990’s.  Firms had been consolidating, business was slow.  The wars waged by the Reagan-Bush administration were winding down, The Cold War barely a memory. Contracts, previously lucrative, were trickling in.  Carlyle and the rest of the military-industrial complex despaired at the military’s “socialism” and wanted more of it handed over to the private sector.

In 1997 Carlyle Group bought United Defense Industries.  The company’s prospectus describes its mission manufacturing:

Combat Vehicle Systems, Fire Support, Combat Support Vehicle Systems, Weapons Delivery Systems, Amphibious Assault Vehicles, Logistics and Training Support, Intelligent Munitions, and Marine Repair.

….United Defense was upgrading existing vehicles. The company was also busy developing the next generation Crusader Field Artillery System, designed to replace the M109A6 Paladin, and was hoping to land a $20 billion Crusader production contract in 2000. The company was also developing a Composite Armor Vehicle and a Grizzly minefield-breaching vehicle.

After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, President George Bush and his administration launched immense military initiatives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other areas, and these initiatives greatly impacted the U.S. defense industry. In December of that year, United Defense went public on the New York Stock Exchange and was awarded many new contracts.

Iraq soldiers

Iraq soldiers

Carlyle snapped up Cercom, Inc.

In 2004, United Defense acquired Cercom Inc., which specialized in developing armor protection for soldiers as well as for defense vehicles.

From the New York Times:

Cercom, an advanced materials company based in Vista, Calif., began making enhanced plates for the Pentagon this summer and said it was working round the clock to fill its part of the military order.

Weren’t there complaints and desperate calls for help from soldiers and their families for more body and vehicle armor?  Did president Bush send them into the field with inadequate armor from his own company? Just asking.

War is  business.  An eternal war is very good business.

In July 2002, United Defense acquired United States Marine Repair, the country’s largest non-nuclear ship repair, modernization, conversion, and overhaul company. United Defense’s work with the U.S. Army was bolstered as well when, in 2003, the company was awarded a $2 billion contract by Boeing Co. to develop five types of manned ground vehicles (MGVs) for the Army.

From Funding Universe, above:

As the country’s war efforts continued, United Defense’s first quarter revenues in 2004 increased 17 percent, with sales from the Defense System division generating the bulk of the first quarter growth in 2004. These were attributed, in particular, to Bradley Fighting Vehicle upgrades, spare parts, and ramped-up development programs including the Army’s Future Combat Systems and the Navy’s new destroyer program, DD(X).

What a lovely pair of warmongers: Bush with the Carlyle Group, United Defense, Cercom.  Cheney running Halliburton and KBR.  What a racket!  We know the costs and cost over runs for no-bid Halliburton and KBR were enormous.  Could we see the same pattern for United Defense and Cercom?  Did I forget to mention the CIA and Defense Department officials that sit on the Carlyle board?  And how about the Saudi royal family, close associates of Osama and the bin Ladins and countrymen of 13 of the 15 airline hijackers that plowed into the World Trade Center towers to start the Iraq(!!!!???) invasion? What a tangled web they weave.

In 2008 The Carlyle Group acquired Booz Allen, the global management and intelligence consulting firm, for $2.54 billion.

Dick Cheney-sneers

Dick Cheney-sneers

Bush I with Saudis

Bush I I with Saudis

Bush I with Saudis

Bush I with Saudis

A recent deal between Booz Allen and the Carlyle Group has been deemed a national security threat by the Service Employees Union International. The government of Abu-Dhabi holds high stakes in the Carlyle group, and this new union of Booz Allen with the Carlyle Group risks allowing the foreign government access to national security information. Booz Allen is headquartered in Mclean, Virginia and is one of the oldest management consulting firms in the world. The company is one of the largest contractors to the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency. The ties between Booz Allen and intelligence agencies are very close. Former intelligence agency officers have held the position of vice president for Booz Allen and a retired CIA deputy director referred to Booz Allen as “the shadow intelligence community.”

From Democracy Now!:

Mike McConnell, Booz Allen and the Privatization of Intelligence

Mikemcconnell

Mike McConnell, the man President Bush tapped to replace John Negroponte as National Intelligence Director, has been a leading figure in outsourcing U.S. intelligence operations to private industry. McConnell is a former director of the National Security Agency and the current director of defense programs at Booz Allen. We take a look at McConnell and the privatization of intelligence with journalist Tim Shorrock.

McConnell is a former director of the National Security Agency and the current director of defense programs at Booz Allen—one of the nation’s biggest defense and intelligence contractors. Under his watch, Booz Allen has been deeply involved in some of the most controversial counterterrorism programs run by the Bush administration, including the infamous Total Information Awareness data-mining scheme. McConnell has also been a leading figure in outsourcing U.S. intelligence operations to private industry.

McConnell has since the 2008 election stepped down from the top spy post as DNI and returned to Booz-Allen. He has been replaced by Admiral Dennis Blair.

President Bush rushed through FISA and the Patriot Act to ensure the legal authority for comprehensive, high stakes, “drift-net” style and satellite spying capacity on all communications, cell phones, emails, internet searches, medical records, bank accounts, etc.  The FBI has been afforded similarly advanced legal authority and technological support to spy on Americans.  President Obama has gone a step further-shielding telecomunications companies such as Verizon and AT&T and government officials from privacy violations lawsuits.  Obama has also included funds in the stimulus package to  hook up the nation to the telecommunications grid, digitize and upload personal medical files, examining them without consent or knowledge.

Looks like Obama’s going to follow in the Bush-Cheney footsteps. General Michael Hayden, Obama’s NSA spymaster, and the man who doesn’t believe in “probable cause” provisions or search warrants, is George Bush’s old CIA partner.

Bush I with General Hayden

Bush I I with General Hayden

Soros-ex-Carlyle Group member

Soros-ex-Carlyle Group member

Obama’s favorite companies seem to be General Electric, Microsoft and Google. They, too, will reap the benefits of data mining in the “war on terror”.  I wonder what’s in it for him?  Oh yeah, his mentor George Soros owns 6 million shares of Halliburton?  Guess we know where this is headed.


The Patriot Act in El Salvador

May 11, 2009

Nothing new here, this is old news but I’m going to cover it again because it’s 2009 and we have a new president who, sadly, is a carbon copy of the last one.

The U.S. Patriot Act’s provision for warrantless seizure of medical records got the ball rolling. President Obama and the NSA are committed to the spying provisions of the act.  Will they follow through on the penalty provisions as well, as El Salvador did?

Water Protest-El Salvador

Water Protest-El Salvador

In 2007 El Salvador, under the control of the right wing ARENA party, used a version of America’s Patriot Act to arrest peaceful members of a peaceful resistance group for protesting the privatization of its water supply and public health system.  The federal water supply had lately been distributed to municipalities which in turn sold it to private interests. Salvadorans complained of the high cost and poor quality of the water received from the private water distribution interests.

The government plans to try them under the country’s new anti-terrorism laws, which could make them the first political prisoners in the nation’s post-war era.

Several nurses were also arrested for protesting the privatization of the health care industry.

Charges were eventually reduced but many resisters served as much as nine months in prison. Upon release, one of the leaders of the opposition was murdered.

This case not only points up the problems with the growing cancer of globalization and privatization of essential resources but the way governments may react when they encounter opposition to their plans.

At the protest several persons were arrested under a provision of an anti terrorist act which converted misdemeanor acts of civil disobedience to felonies punishable by up to 60 years in prison.  The provision of the El Salvador act was similar to the Violent Radicalization and Home Grown Terror Prevention Act.

VRAHTPA establishes a new federal commission tasked with investigating Americans with “extremist belief systems” and those who may engage in “ideologically based violence.” This effort is expected to cost $22 million.
You can get a feel for where this commission is heading in this excerpt from the legislation to create it, which has already cleared by the House of Representatives by a 404-6 vote and is now headed to the Senate:
he Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

What is ideological terror and how will they decide what one can believe?  Who will be the terrorists in a world where the “war on terror” never ends, but expands into infinity?  Nothing is clear cut with the Patriot Act.  I feel uneasy about handing over my medical records to the worldwide pharmaceutical and health care industries just because they gave Obama and Pelosi a bunch of money.  In fact, I feel downright pissed off.  What would happen if we just refused to do it?  Would we be left off of the medicare and health care grid?  Would we be able to receive medical treatment? How about some types of social security?

Could we be arrested?  Don’t know.   And I sure don’t trust Obama and the oligarchs.


It’s All About Oil.

March 29, 2009

To quote the French:  The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Change you can believe in.

On January 28, 2009, Obama appointee, retired 4 star Admiral Dennis Blair was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Director of National Intelligence.  The DNI chief reports directly to the president and defense department chief and co-ordinates all other national intelligence agencies. It prepares the National Defense Estimate annual report to congress.  The office of DNI was created by the Bush administration in response to the 9/11 attacks.

Admiral Blair has an impressive resume: Rhodes Scholar, Russian speaker, attended East-West Center at the University of  Hawaii in 1968, former Commander-in -Chief of U.S. Pacific Command:

PACOM area of responsibility

PACOM area of responsibility

From 2003 to 2007, Blair was president of the Institute for Defense Analyses, a nonprofit corporation that manages federally funded national security research and development centers. He stepped down in the face of concerns that his positions on the boards of major defense contractors presented a conflict of interest.

Excerpt from article by

Author:
Joanna Klonsky, Associate Editor

updated: February 9, 2009

Dennis Blair

Retired four-star Admiral Dennis C. Blair is President Obama’s director of national intelligence (DNI)–confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 28, 2009. Blair, a thirty-four-year Navy veteran, is the former commander-in-chief of U.S. Pacific Command.

He also served as associate director of central intelligence for military support, coordinating intelligence and military operations under the Clinton administration. He was director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, and commanded the Kitty Hawk Strike Group aircraft carrier and the destroyer Cochrane.

Admiral Blair advised congress in 1999 that U.S.-Indonesian  military co-ordination should be resumed. The above article does not mention that Admiral Blair’s 1999 advice came  just one day after the outbreak of an Indonesian Army massacre of civilians in Dili, East Timor.  Blair has contended that he was not aware of the Indonesian army’s  massacre, although evidence has been produced indicating that he did.  The army killings in Dili increased after the congressional approval of the new pact.  What is clear is that for some time the U.S. military and intelligence agencies have had a cordial relationship with Indonesia’s murderous dictators.

The massacre in Dili was about oil.

USPACCOM unified command

The top U.S. officer in the Pacific (unidentified, not Blair) met with Indonesia's president to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the region and applaud Indonesia’s role in security initiatives.

Blair Senate Appearance.

In a 2007 appearance before the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation,  retired admiral Dennis Blair urged the U.S. to pursue increased automobile mileage efficiency among the major auto makers in order to relieve stress on the military in the security of oil supplies.

Blair clearly emphasizes, throughout his senate testimony, that a large part of U.S. military commitment in the Pacific theater and Central Asia and the Middle East is the protection and preservation of energy (oil, natural gas) supplies.  In my post of March 1, 2009 I noted that the U.S. interest in Afghanistan and support of the Taliban throughout Afghanistan’s war with the invading Soviet Union  (which began in 1979-1980), included  an interest in extending an oil pipeline connecting the Middle East and Asia.  An effort to build the pipeline with the aid of trained Taliban workers was discontinued due to pressure from American feminist groups over the Taliban’s treatment of women.  Unocal attempted to take over the pipeline project from the U.S. Government but dropped the proposal.

It’s about oil.

Here’s an excerpt from Dennis Blair’s committee presentation:

In the late 1970s two serious threats to Persian Gulf oil were identified by the Carter Administration, which became seized by the issue. The first was a potential Soviet invasion from the north into the oil regions around the Gulf, a concern heightened by the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The second was an aggressive and fundamentalist Iran, which was led by a regime that had permitted and then exploited the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran. In response, the department of defense created the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, the RDJTF, a planning headquarters and contingency force that could quickly deploy to the Gulf to defeat a major land invasion.  In 1983 as part of its general military build up against the Soviet Union, the Reagan administration upgraded this task force to a regional command like the European Command and the Pacific Command, where I served and where I ultimately commanded. So this Central Command had full time responsibility for U.S. interests in the region.

U.S. interests in the region – does that mean oil?

This article has an interesting timeline of events for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.  I can’t vouch for all the facts but it is tantalizing.

Obama plans to send 17,000 additional troops into Afghanistan to beef up the “war on terror”.  Along with this change comes an offer by his administration to “negotiate” with the “moderate” factions of the Taliban.  Thus Obama can argue that he will have two options for bringing peace to Afghanistan, a carrot and stick approach, if you will:  more troops and more bombing, or a settlement of differences.  In addition to bringing peace, the carrot and stick will also help build a new pipeline.  I doubt that feminist groups  this time will be able to stand in the way of the pipeline — not under a “progressive, feminist friendly” president.

Recall Ann Dunham Soetoro’s resume of helping poor women:  with microloans in Pakistan and Indonesia, cataloging various native crafts during major massacres in Indonesia under the auspices of the Ford Foundation (working for Peter Geithner, the Treasury Secretary’s father), USAID, and the World Bank (all of which are widely believed to have CIA associations).  Ann Dunham Soetero’s connection to these mineral rich regions is Barack Obama’s connection to these mineral rich regions.

Here’s a little bit of history about past DNI chiefs:

George W. Bush’s first DNI chief was John Negroponte, who previously held a position under Condaleeza Rice when she was NSA chief.  Negroponte served under Ronald Reagan as ambassador to El Salvador during Reagan’s dirty wars in Central America in the 1980’s, and was implicated in the training of death squads and the cover-up to congress of their barbarous activities.  A staunch anti-communist, he was appointed ambassador to Mexico during the populist Chiapas uprising, and suspected of using ruthless countermeasures against them. George Bush’s second DNI chief was Mike McConnell, a member of the controversial and influential quasi-governmental body, the Carlyle Group. Recall that the Carlyle Group is a conglomerate of American defense department chiefs, the two Bush presidents, and Saudi oil interests, among others.

Dennis Blair is Obama’s new DNI chief –another man with a strong resume protecting oil.

The more things change … the more it’s still about oil.


Obama NSA Chief Has Ties to Chevron’s Board?

February 17, 2009

During and after the presidential primaries and the general election Barack Obama’s “progressive”, clean energy, environmental activist supporters fought for their candidate of “change” as a new entity in Washington, initiating a revolutionary era in energy production and usage. Well, just like everything else Obama championed before he was elected, he now has had second thoughts about his first thoughts. Frankly, I’m equally concerned about the NSA chief’s oversight of wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping. But this is about energy.

Obama’s last and final pre-election “position” on domestic off-shore oil was for limited drilling: Just parenthetically, has he dropped these positions?
And what about these?

Obama’s choice of General James Jones as National Security Council chief may gall the activists looking forward to saving the U.S. from increased off-shore oil drilling and coal production. Before John McCain supported domestic oil drilling and the polls showed drilling was a popular idea, Obama OPPOSED it. Nancy Pelosi refused to bring the issue to a vote in the House so as not to embarrass the Democrats. Just before the election, Obama and Biden suggested coal producers should be put out of business. Obama seems equally committed to every contradictory position he takes. His supporters haven’t wanted to notice the disturbing truth until now. General Jones portfolio will include the national security implications of energy supplies as well as domestic energy production. General Jones comes from the same Chevron Board as former NSA chief Condeleeza Rice. Even the Daily Kos, a vociferous Obama booster blog expresses some queasy misgivings.

Gen Jones’ ties to Chevron and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggest a platform of enhanced oil drilling in the U.S. as well as an increase in coal production, with or without clean technology.

Here, I quote from a Democracy Now radio show from December 2008 (URL at the bottom) because Amy Goodman from Code Pink was an Obama supporter, bundling a lot of cash for her candidate. And though I must raise an eyebrow at the cynicism of perennial candidate Ralph Nader, I believe he holds many environmental views of environmental “progressives”.

AMY GOODMAN: What about Marine General Jim Jones nominated as National Security Adviser? Interestingly, President Bush’s first National Security Adviser, of course, was Condoleezza Rice. She came from the board of Chevron. That’s exactly where Marine General Jim Jones comes from. Jim Jones comes from Chevron and the board of Boeing and the chief executive of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, which has been criticized by environmental groups for, among other things, calling for the immediate expansion of domestic oil and gas production and issuing reports that challenge the use of the Clean Air Act to combat global warming.

RALPH NADER: Well, Jim Jones is basically the representative of what President Eisenhower cautioned us about, the military-industrial complex. He is experienced. He’s clever. And now he’s in the White House. So the question is, who’s going to run what? Is Obama going to transform Jim Jones? Is Obama going to transform all these establishment appointees? Or are they going to, in effect, transform him, in contrast to his more liberal rhetoric?

It’s very hard to appoint people with fixed opinions, fixed constituencies around the country of vested power, and say, well, we’re going to use these to change America, because if they change, that will give great credibility, and that will offset the corporate power structure from Washington, D.C. You know, that’s never been done before, Amy. Usually, when you appoint people who have fixed positions, who have experience in set ways, who represent the power structure, they’re not about to be steered into a progressive path of hope and change by someone at the top in the Oval Office.http://www.globalexchange.org/update/inthenews/5986.html

Obama took so many differing positions during the presidential campaign that it was hard to keep up. In his infamous “bitter about their guns and religion” talk before supporters he stated his belief that auto plants in the Great Lakes region were not coming back. In the “change” video he he seems certain that fuel efficient “plug-in” vehicles can be made available by the auto industry within six years. Sheesh.

Obama’s appointment of General Jones to oversee the national security energy issues may signal that this is not change we can believe in.