Tuesday, August 24, 2004
CIA: Secret Wars — Part III-b(4)
CIA: Secret Wars, Part III-b(4)
"One war begets another"
[The Clinton years - continued]
In this segment we hear from Robert Baer and Robert Steele, both CIA, both from covert operations. What emerges immediately is the political naivité of these CIA “grunt workers.” But government leaders depend upon this naivité to conduct many of their enterprises.
Baer’s account is one of the most amazing of the documentary. Clinton’s selling of the White House became quite well known, but the suppression of Baer’s testimony is not. The threat of psychiatric commitment, a well-known practice of the Soviet Union for controlling dissidents, was employed here.
VOICEOVER: It was completely by chance that Robert Baer discovered in the very bosom of the White House how the oil lobbies helped Bill Clinton finance his campaign for his reelection to the Presidency of the United States. He ran into Roger Tamraz26 there, the director of several oil-producing companies, who was invited to participate in a barbecue with the President for the modest sum of $300,000 that was to go to feed the coffers of the Democratic Party.
ROBERT BAER: I saw this Lebanese who was taking out his wads of bills. They showed him the list of services—a private conversation with the President, a night in the Lincoln bedroom, a flight on the President’s airplane Air Force One, even some cufflinks. Everything was for sale. There was a list with the prices, a real catalog. I believed he was lying.
ROBERT STEELE: Even before the end of his first term, he very quickly understood what was the importance of oil and of Wall Street.
ROBERT BAER: The only thing I regret is having been so stupid as not to have understood earlier how the system worked. I began to send some reports on the financing of the campaign. Since it’s forbidden for the CIA to spy on Americans, then imagine when it’s a matter of the President of the United States. I sent some information on the President to my director; he was quite simply horrified. But I was paid by the CIA to tell the truth and I wasn’t going to stop. I don’t give a damn about politics—what I reported was true. I crossed the Rubicon when I began to write up the reports on the President of the United States. That is never done in the CIA! While being aware of that, I continued. I decided to go before Congress to tell them what was happening, without knowing how all that worked. But I had to talk about it with someone beforehand, with a friend who was working in Congress and who, incidentally, was later found dead in a motel bedroom, his head blown off, a gun at his side. But we’ll speak about that another time.
VOICEOVER: Baer decided to put his foot in it and go testify before Congress to describe the influence of the lobbies in American political life and the Presidential election and the somewhat-less-than-orthodox methods employed by Bill Clinton’s entourage.
The administration plays hardball.
ROBERT BAER: The very day that I went to testify on campaign finance before the Grand Jury, my apartment was visited by some burglars, but nothing was taken. The members of the Grand Jury didn’t even want to get close to the question of campaign finance. Nothing, not a word. And every time I tried to say something about the way the system worked, the prosecutor cut me off while threatening me in a condescending manner.
He asked for a break in the session and had me come over to tell me privately: “If you go back over one more time—only one—the financing of the electoral campaign, the court is going to expel you and we are going to send you to prison.”
The system had gone crazy, completely mad. When they realized that they weren’t going to succeed in shutting me up, they shifted the investigation onto me. It was pure intimidation worthy of a police state and on the very premises of the CIA.
Next, the medical expert arrived and told me: “You need a psychiatric exam.” I told him: “Go fuck yourself—it’s out of the question. I’ll never take the psychiatric exam.” You would have thought you were under Stalin. They make you take an exam, put you in the hands of a psychiatrist who works under their control and can do with you anything he wants. They can commit you to St. Elizabeth’s, Washington’s mental hospital, lay you off, send you back home, decide whatever.
I told them: “Ok, we’ll drop it.” I knew I had nothing to blame myself for. I had discovered from the outside how the whole system worked, and I suddenly realized that the moment had come to leave.
VOICEOVER: Robert Baer retired and was awarded the prestigious medal that crowns an exemplary career in the service of the CIA.
ROBERT BAER: If the law had allowed, the CIA would have blown up my house with me in it.
According to the committee,
Roger Tamraz, an international financier and entrepreneur in the oil business, is presently wanted by police in at least two countries. A naturalized American citizen, he has been ordered by a French court to pay the equivalent of some $57 million in connection with the collapse of a French bank and faces an Interpol arrest warrant for allegedly embezzling between $154 and $200 million from the failed Al Mashreq Bank in Lebanon, of which he had been the chairman. In June 1995, Tamraz—who had left Lebanon in 1989 with the assistance of Syrian authorities—was also sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison by a military court in Lebanon. Tamraz has also been closely involved in business dealings with Libya's state-controlled National Oil Company, to which he sold or with which he merged his own Tamoil company.
Rather reminds me of Ahmed Chalabi’s resumé. [back]
CIA: Secret Wars — Part III-b(5) (The Clinton years - continued)
CIA: Secret Wars — Part III-a(1) (Beginning, the George H.W. Bush years)
CIA: Secret Wars — Part III-b(1) (The Clinton years)
CIA: Secret Wars — Part III-c (The George W. Bush years)