Essential Mae Brussell Archive: Rise of the Fourth Reich – Nazi Connections in the JFK Conspiracy (pdf file)
Larry Flint’s short-lived publication “The Rebel”
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, warned Wednesday that outside encouragement of antigovernment uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa could lead to “a very big war that will cause suffering not only to countries in the region, but also to states far beyond its boundaries.”
Mr. Lavrov’s annual news conference was largely devoted to a critique of Western policies in Iran and Syria, which he said could lead to a spiral of violence.
His remarks came on the heels of a report on state-controlled television that accused the American ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, who has been in Moscow for less than a week, of working to provoke a revolution here. Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, at an impromptu meeting with prominent editors, also unleashed an attack on the liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy, which he said was serving American interests.
Mr. Lavrov said Russia would use its position on the United Nations Security Council to veto any United Nations authorization of military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. The United Nations has repeatedly called for Syria end a crackdown on opposition demonstrators, which Arab League monitors say resulted in hundreds of deaths over the past month.
“If someone conceives the idea of using force at any cost — and I’ve already heard calls for sending some Arab troops to Syria — we are unlikely to be able to prevent this,” Mr. Lavrov said. “But this should be done on their own initiative and should remain on their conscience. They won’t get any authorization from the Security Council.”
Mr. Lavrov said foreign governments were arming “militants and extremists” in Syria, and he gave a bristling response to Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations, who on Tuesday expressed concern about possible Russian arms shipments to Syria.
“We don’t find it necessary to explain or justify anything,” Mr. Lavrov said. “We are only trading goods with Syria that are not prohibited by international law.”
Mr. Lavrov offered a similarly grave message about the possibility of a military strike against Iran, which he said would be a “catastrophe.” He said sanctions now being proposed against Tehran were “intended to have a smothering effect on the Iranian economy and the Iranian population, probably in the hopes of provoking discontent.”
Relations between Moscow and Washington have worsened over the past year, as the cordial tone of the “reset” between President Obama and President Dmitri A. Medvedev has been replaced by a drumbeat of criticism. Mr. Lavrov said that Russia and the United States were not adversaries, and that “the cold war ended a long time ago.” By contrast, however, he was glowing about Russia’s cooperation with China, which he said was “the highest in the history of our bilateral relationship.”
Late on Tuesday night, Russia’s Channel 1 broadcast a segment about Mr. McFaul, who is one of Mr. Obama’s top advisers on Russia and a primary architect of the relationship’s reset. The commentary emphasized Mr. McFaul’s relationship with opposition leaders and suggested that his intent was to lay the groundwork for revolution.
“McFaul is not a specialist on Russia,” said Mikhail V. Leontyev, a Channel 1 commentator. “He is a specialist solely in the promotion of democracy.” Singling out a book by Mr. McFaul, titled “Russia’s Unfinished Revolution,” Mr. Leontyev added: “Is it possible Mr. McFaul came to Russia to work in his specialty? That is, to finish the revolution?”
The segment delved into Mr. McFaul’s previous work in Russia, including a stint in the 1990s with the National Democratic Institute, an organization that Mr. Leontyev said was “known for its proximity to the American intelligence services and its work preparing the political leaders of the third world.” Mr. McFaul should have “no problems” forging relationships with the opposition, Mr. Leontyev said. “Cooperating with the government is another story.”
The commentary followed news coverage on Channel 1 showing opposition leaders who visited the American Embassy to meet with Mr. McFaul. In the video, which was uploaded to YouTube with the title “Receiving Instructions at the United States Embassy,” people accost the opposition leaders on the sidewalk and ask: “Why did you come to the embassy today? What are your reasons for coming?”
Mr. McFaul dismissed the criticism of his meeting with the opposition figures, noting that he had already met with several high-ranking Russian officials.
“U.S. officials visiting Russia make a point of meeting with both government officials and civil society leaders,” he wrote on his blog in Russian and English.
The theme of American interference emerged again during a rapidly convened meeting between top journalists and Mr. Putin, which ended in a confrontation between the prime minister and Aleksei A. Venediktov, the editor of the radio station Ekho Moskvy. The station is an important platform for the opposition, and Mr. Putin said he had been horrified when he happened to hear a broadcast that contended that a planned United States missile defense system posed no great threat to Russia.
“Listen, it was such bull, I just don’t know — where do they get this stuff?” Mr. Putin said. “I thought, This is not information — what they’re broadcasting, it’s serving the foreign policy interests of one country with respect to another, to Russia.”
“I do not take offense when you pour diarrhea on me day in and day out, and yet you have taken offense,” Mr. Putin told Mr. Venediktov as the meeting came to a close, according to an official transcript. “I just said two words, and you took offense.”
The award for oddest geopolitical couple of 2005 goes to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Houston-based Halliburton.
You might not think that a charter member of President Bush’s “axis of evil” could enlist the oil-services firm once run by Vice President Cheney to bolster its bargaining position with an international community intent on curbing its nuclear ambitions.
But that is apparently what happened last month.
The story began on Jan. 9 when the Iran News ran a Reuters story reporting that Halliburton “has won a tender to drill a huge Iranian gas field.”
The deal to develop two sections of Iran’s South Pars gas field promises significant economic benefits.
“The project includes onshore and offshore sections and its initial phase is to become operational by the first quarter of 2007,” said the Tehran-based news site. The total output of the phases will reportedly produce 50 million cubic meters per day of treated natural gas for domestic use and 80,000 barrels of gas liquids per day for export.
An Iranian government spokesman did not respond to the allegation but defended the contract saying Halliburton offered a good price and that the project “served the interests” of the Islamic state.
That probably did not please Cheney. On Inauguration Day, he told a nationwide talk radio audience that Iran was “right at the top of the list of potential trouble spots” facing the Bush administration. Many online pundits interpreted his remarks as a threat of military action against Iran. Cheney was not asked about Halliburton’s venture.
Two days later, American political analyst Michael Ledeen, a neoconservative advocate of ousting the government in Tehran, described Halliburton’s actions as “disgusting.” In a Jan. 23 online chat sponsored by the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, Ledeen was asked about “secret business deals between some U.S. companies, like Halliburton, and the Islamic regime.”
“What has happened is against U.S. laws . . . and the people involved in this transaction must be put in jail, according to American law,” Ledeen replied.
Halliburton denied it had violated a U.S. law banning “direct or indirect exportation of U.S.-origin goods, services, or technology to Iran or the Government of Iran.”
Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said the company had not broken the law because all of the work in the South Pars gas field would be done by non-Americans employed by a subsidiary registered in the Cayman Islands.
“We are in the service business, not the foreign-policy business,” she said. “We have followed and will continue to follow applicable laws.”
The next day Halliburton announced the South Pars gas field project would be its last in Iran. The BBC reported that Halliburton, which took in $30-$40 million from Iranian operations in 2003, “was winding down its work due to a poor business environment.”
But don’t expect Halliburton to leave Iran any time soon. The company has opened an unmarked office on the 10th floor of a Tehran office building, according to Vivienne Walt of Fortune Magazine. Since the South Pars project is expected to take 52 months to complete, according to the Tehran-based Mehr news agency, Halliburton seems likely to remain in Iran through 2009.
So while President Bush attempts to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, the Tehran government reaps the benefits by doing business with Vice President Cheney’s former employer.
If you do business with terrorists, if you support them or sponsor them, you will not do business with the United States of America – George W. Bush, Nov. 7, 2001
In order to comply with terrorist sanctions law, neither Halliburton (the U.S. parent company) nor any of its U.S. subsidiaries here or overseas can engage in any decision making with regard to, or become involved in, business transactions between the foreign subsidiary – Halliburton Products and Services – and Iran. The foreign subsidiary must be truly independent in order to legally take advantage of the loophole.
After initially closing an investigation of Halliburton in early 2001, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control reopened the case in January 2004, after CBS News’ 60 Minutes broadcast an expose of Halliburton Products and Services’ longtime business practices with Iran.
In February 2004, Senator Lautenberg’s office provided Treasury Department investigators with suspicious documents (published in this report) that indicate that the Iranians had certain named contacts at Halliburton in 1997 and 1998, when Dick Cheney was CEO. The documents were significant because it was unclear whether these contacts were employed by a U.S. subsidiary, KBR, or the foreign subsidiary, Halliburton Products and Services Limited. As discussed in this report, those two subsidiaries share an office, phone and fax lines in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.