Sunday, August 28, 2016

Why do kingdoms give out money?

The notion that kingdoms would not understand how political tribute funds works is on the face of it a joke. It was however openly confessed to by a Hillary Clinton surrogate. In a debate with investigative journalist David Sirota, Paul Glastris, a former (Bill) Clinton speechwriter, argued that "there’s no indication that Bahrain was—by putting money into the Clinton Foundation, it was influencing the Defense Department, that wanted to sell these weapons."

It's arguable whether they influenced the State Department (which, to no avail, is exactly the point Sirota was trying to make) but it's very likely the State Department itself along with the Foundation are understood as a way to make their reputations better.  In fact, Glastris himself tacitly admits that aid is not always for strict humanitarian purposes. He states, perhaps believably, "the reason the Clinton State Department and the entire Obama administration was willing to give a lot of arms to the Saudis and the Bahrainis was that they were tubing the Saudis and the Bahrainis by trying to open negotiations with Iran. Everybody knows this. It’s not—we don’t need to find of kind some nefarious payoff in order to understand the policy."

According to a study by the Red Cross "Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Gulf states use their humanitarian engagement to appease expatriate worker populations from disaster-prone countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, or the Philippines who often face miserable working conditions." They affirm that "as in any other area of foreign policy, interests such as national security or regional stability also influence the humanitarian behavior of traditional donors."

Ana Carolina Garriga published in the online left-wing journal Truth-out went even further and correlated human rights atrocities to what the Red Cross more benignly calls "multilateral funding."  Cashflow to humanitarian causes that are suspect are usually when investors are reacting "to countries' human rights violations because they worry about their own reputation. Mechanisms that potentially shield investors' reputation from doing business in countries that do not respect human rights will attract investment."

The fact that the State Department and the Clinton Foundation are being defended so fiercely demonstrates their role as helping these kingdoms through tribute. One of the most coveted prizes might not be the guns themselves but the valuable speeches the State Department can give in defense of Saudi allies in Iraq, Egypt etc. It's not enough to be a soup kitchen, there must also be a spokesperson.

Much shock and outrage must be due to the fact that these regimes did not live up to their natural end of  falling "into the sand" as Hillary desired, they are run by military generals that are ready to do business with the IMF, the latter with "no fixed schedule" to meet with democratic organizers. Indeed, one of the sticking points with the leading international investors was the ability to accrue interest on humanitarian loans as well as whether the work should be supervised locally or with an investor agenda. Putting aside their false humanitarian concerns, the demands of the IMF are simply "generating foreign investor confidence" which could not be met by Egyptian democracy.  Three weeks ago the IMF signed a package with the sitting coup government that even Lindsey Graham, one of if not the leading recipient of arms donations, criticized as a failed state.

Charities are sometimes shuttered and later found to be doing no wrong. But no bells of McCarthyism are being rung for Cure violence, a small but successful program preventing murder in Chicago. Nobody helped by the Somali charity Bush canceled were given this rancor. To portray themselves as innocent there is only one solution to the elite: to portray the accuser as stupid. Today's McCarthyism is in the form of journalists expressing jealousy, preferring to call people exaggerators than admit they were scooped, or worse, betrayed by a mafia-like caste system.

Despite many prompts, Gastris could not bring himself to admit that Saudis might be applying the same realpolitik that he so eagerly promotes at home. In fact, in extreme contrast to the policy that facilitated the Bahrain weapons, someone reading these leading researchers will undoubtedly conclude that the Obama admin/ Clinton state dept policy is a risky idea at best, and in fact puts more pressure on international relations to appease each other only after atrocities are being committed. Binder and Meir note that "national Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations become increasingly active when disasters strike in neighbouring countries." Again, this model was openly confessed to by a Clinton surrogate.

If you care for the poor, don't harass a journalist with "But I love you baby" tactics. Demand citizen control of our military and police, a viscous, corpse-stomping terror squad inflicting unspoken misery on the poorest people in the country and whoever gets on a sheik's dirty list.

David Sirota is a watchdog that consistently applies the same method to Democrats and Republicans, openly giving people information to influence policy -- exactly what the press is supposed to do.

Sources
Huffington Post May 16, 2009
Al-Barakaat: The Little Charity That Could Have Saved Somalia

Council On Foreign Relations, January 13, 2011
Clinton's Remarks at Forum for the Future, January 2011 Speaker: Hillary Rodham Clinton


Red Cross, December 31, 2011
Opportunity knocks: why non-Western donors enter humanitarianism and how to make the best of it  31-12-2011 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 884, by Andrea Binder, Claudia Meier

IMF May 17, 2012
Transcript of a Press Briefing by David Hawley, Deputy Director, External Relations Department, International Monetary Fund

Washington Post, July 12, 2013
John McCain and Lindsey Graham: Cut off aid to Egypt

Truthout August 13 , 2016

Ana Carolina Garriga; Are Human Rights Treaties a "Reputational Umbrella" for Foreign Investment?

Democracy Now, August 25, 2016
Weapons, Pipelines & Wall St: Did Clinton Foundation Donations Impact Clinton State Dept. Decisions?

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