YOUTUBE:Iraq Study Group Playing Politics By Not Playing PoliticsFri Oct 20, 2006 04:11
October 16th, 2006 - James A. Baker and 9/11 Co-Chariman Lee Hamilton are withholding this report from the public til after the election (when it won't make a difference) the Baker-led group is keeping valuable information from the voters that could very well alter the election.
Baker is Senior Counsel for The Carlyle Group.
Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt is included in the video.
Iraq Study Group Playing Politics By Not Playing Politics
The Carlyle Group
Former World Leaders and Washington Insiders Making Billions in the War on Terrorism
Why Did Bush Lie us into Iraq?
Investing in War
The Carlyle Group profits from government and conflict
Meet The Carlyle Group
EXPOSED: The Carlyle Group
48 minute Real Player video ~ watch now
Audio version of the above movie
#1 http://www.apfn.net/audio/carlyle_groupA.MP3 (7.19MB)
#2 http://www.apfn.net/audio/carlyle_groupB.MP3 (6.43MB)
#3 http://www.apfn.net/audio/carlyle_groupC.MP3 (8.45MB)
#4 http://www.apfn.net/audio/carlyle_groupD.MP3 (9.60MB)
04/17/06 Randi Rhodes re: 911
http://www.apfn.net/audio/M001I060417203929-rhodes-911.MP3 (5.94MB) 25Min 57Sec
Democracy Now! Broadcast Exclusive: James Baker's Double Life in Iraq: The Carlyle Group Stands to Make Killing on Iraqi Debt
In a major expose published last night on The Nation magazine's website, columnist Naomi Klein reveals that President Bush's special envoy on Iraq's debt, former Secretary of State James Baker, has been using his position to benefit his corporate clients and the Carlyle Group, the powerful merchant bank and defense contractor where Baker serves as a partner. [includes rush transcript]
According to confidential documents obtained by The Nation, Carlyle has sought to secure an extraordinary $1 billion investment from the Kuwaiti government, with Baker"s influence as debt envoy being used as a crucial lever. The secret deal involves a complex transaction to transfer ownership of as much as $57 billion in unpaid Iraqi debts. The debts, now owed to the government of Kuwait, would be assigned to a foundation created and controlled by a consortium in which the key players are the Carlyle Group and the Albright Group, which is headed by another former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. There are also several other well-connected firms involved.
Under the deal, the government of Kuwait would also give the consortium $2 billion up front to invest in a private equity fund devised by the consortium, with half of it going to Carlyle. In a letter dated August 6, 2004, the consortium informed Kuwait's foreign ministry that the country"s unpaid debts from Iraq are "in imminent jeopardy." Another letter warns the Kuwaitis that world opinion is turning in favor of debt forgiveness. As evidence the consortium points out to Kuwait "President Bush's appointment...of former Secretary of State James Baker as his envoy to negotiate Iraqi debt relief." The consortium's proposal spells out the threat: Not only is Kuwait unlikely to see any of its $30 billion from Iraq in sovereign debt, but the $27 billion in war reparations that Iraq owes to Kuwait from Saddam Hussein"s 1990 invasion "may well be a casualty of this U.S. [debt relief] effort."
In the face of this threat, the consortium offers its services. If Kuwait agrees to transfer the debts to the consortium"s foundation, the consortium will use these personal connections to persuade world leaders that Iraq must "maximize" its debt payments to Kuwait, which would be able to collect the money after ten to fifteen years. And the more the consortium gets Iraq to pay during that period, the more Kuwait collects, with the consortium taking a 5 percent commission or more.
Naomi Klein, award-winning journalist and author of Fences and Windows: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate and No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies.
Naomi Klein's article in The Nation: "James Baker's Double Life" http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/10/13/144220
The ex-presidents' club
Oliver Burkeman and Julian Borger
Wednesday October 31, 2001
It is hard to imagine an address closer to the heart of American power. The offices of the Carlyle Group are on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, midway between the White House and the Capitol building, and within a stone's throw of the headquarters of the FBI and numerous government departments. The address reflects Carlyle's position at the very centre of the Washington establishment, but amid the frenetic politicking that has occupied the higher reaches of that world in recent weeks, few have paid it much attention. Elsewhere, few have even heard of it.
This is exactly the way Carlyle likes it. For 14 years now, with almost no publicity, the company has been signing up an impressive list of former politicians - including the first President Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker; John Major; one-time World Bank treasurer Afsaneh Masheyekhi and several south-east Asian powerbrokers - and using their contacts and influence to promote the group. Among the companies Carlyle owns are those which make equipment, vehicles and munitions for the US military, and its celebrity employees have long served an ingenious dual purpose, helping encourage investments from the very wealthy while also smoothing the path for Carlyle's defence firms.
But since the start of the "war on terrorism", the firm - unofficially valued at $3.5bn - has taken on an added significance. Carlyle has become the thread which indirectly links American military policy in Afghanistan to the personal financial fortunes of its celebrity employees, not least the current president's father. And, until earlier this month, Carlyle provided another curious link to the Afghan crisis: among the firm's multi-million-dollar investors were members of the family of Osama bin Laden.
The closest the Carlyle Group has previously come to public attention was last May, when a Seoul-based employee called Peter Chung was forced to resign from his £100,000-a-year job after sending an email to friends - subsequently forwarded to thousands of others - boasting of his plans to "... every hot chick in Korea over the next two years". The more business-oriented activities of Carlyle's staff have been conducted much more quietly: since it was founded in 1987 by David Rubenstein, a policy assistant in Jimmy Carter's administration, and two lawyer friends, the firm has been dispatching an array of former world leaders on a series of strategic networking trips.
Last year, George Bush Sr and John Major travelled to Riyadh to talk with senior Saudi businessmen. In September 2000, Carlyle hired speakers including Colin Powell and AOL Time Warner chair Steve Case to address an extravagant party at Washington's Monarch Hotel. Months later, Major joined James Baker for a function at the Lanesborough Hotel in London, to explain the Florida election controversy to the wealthy attendees.
We can assume that Carlyle pays well. Neither Major's office nor Carlyle will confirm the details of his salary as European chairman - an appointment announced shortly before he left the House of Commons after the election - but we know, for the purposes of comparison, that he is paid £105,000 for 28 days' work a year for an unrelated non-executive directorship. Bush gives speeches for the company and is paid with stakes in the firm's investments, believed to be worth at least $80,000 per appearance. The benefits have attracted political stars from around the world: former Philippines president Fidel Ramos is an adviser, as is former Thai premier Anand Panyarachun - as well as former Bundesbank president Karl Otto Pohl, and Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the SEC, the US stock market regulator.
Carlyle partners, who include Baker and the firm's chairman, Frank Carlucci - Ronald Reagan's defence secretary and a former deputy director of the CIA - own stakes that would be worth $180m each if each partner owned an equal slice. As in many areas of its work, though, Carlyle is not obliged to reveal the details, and chooses not to.
Among the defence firms which benefit from Carlyle's success is United Defense, a Virginia-based contractor which makes vertical missile launch systems currently on board US Navy ships in the Arabian sea, as well as a range of other weapons delivery systems and combat vehicles. Carlyle's other holdings span an improbable range, taking in the French newspaper Le Figaro and the company which bottles Dr Pepper.
"They are big, and they are quiet," says David Mulholland, business editor of Jane's Defence Weekly. "But they're not easy to get information out of, [but] United Defense are going to do well [in the current conflict]." United also owns Bofors, a Swedish munitions manufacturer.
Carlyle has said that it does not lobby the federal government, thus avoiding a conflict of interest when, for example, Carlucci met Rumsfeld in February when several important defence contracts were under consideration. But critics see that as a matter of definition.
"It should be a deep cause for concern that a closely held company like Carlyle can simultaneously have directors and advisers that are doing business and making money and also advising the president of the United States," says Peter Eisner, managing director of the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit-making Washington think-tank. "The problem comes when private business and public policy blend together. What hat is former president Bush wearing when he tells Crown Prince Abdullah not to worry about US policy in the Middle East? What hat does he use when he deals with South Korea, and causes policy changes there? Or when James Baker helps argue the presidential election in the younger Bush's favour? It's a kitchen-cabinet situation, and the informality involved is precisely a mark of Carlyle's success."
The world of private equity is an inherently secretive one. Firms such as Carlyle make most of their money buying firms which are not publicly traded, overhauling them and selling them at a profit, so the process by which likely targets are evaluated is much more confidential than on the open market. "These firms certainly don't go out of their way to get into the headlines," says Steven Bell, chief economist at Deutsche Asset Management. "They'd rather make a splash in Institutional Pensions Week. The aim is to realise very high returns for your investors while exerting a high degree of control over the company. You don't want to get into the headlines when you force the management to fire a director."
The process has worked wonders at United, and this month the firm announced plans to go public, giving Carlyle the chance to cash in its investment.
But what sets Carlyle apart is the way it has exploited its political contacts. When Carlucci arrived there in 1989, he brought with him a phalanx of former subordinates from the CIA and the Pentagon, and an awareness of the scale of business a company like Carlyle could do in the corridors and steak-houses of Washington. In a decade and a half, the firm has been able to realise a 34% rate of return on its investments, and now claims to be the largest private equity firm in the world. Success brought more investors, including the international financier George Soros and, in 1995, the wealthy Saudi Binladin family, who insist they long ago severed all links with their notorious relative. The first president Bush is understood to have visited the Binladins in Saudi Arabia twice on the firm's behalf.
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