Friday 26 April 2013

When Hillary blocked Janet Napolitano (PO)

M D Nalapat

Friday, April 26, 2013 - After being sworn in as US President in 2009, Barack Obama bid goodbye to almost all of those who had for years worked with dedication to ensure that he got the job. After campaigning as a candidate who would represent a complete break from the domestic sleaze and international prejudices of the Clinton era (1993-2001), Barack Obama fashioned a Clinton Lite administration, with almost all the top spots going to those loyal to “Billary” (Bill and Hillary) rather than to himself. As a consequence, the opportunity for genuine financial reform was passed over, and speculation propelled by an anti-social, clearly criminal, greed continues to be the engine which drives the US financial system.

Instead of fashioning a healthcare system that would sharply lower costs by making use of international opportunities for provision of high-quality medicines and patient care, Obama took on the mantle of the head of a labour union, continuing the Bush-Cheney policy of sourcing purchases exclusively from the US homeland, at the cost of economics and efficiency. Internationally, the Obama administration, while talking of an outreach to Asia, continued the Clinton line of being joined at the hip by the European Union, including in the matter of defense. All calls for an Asian version of NATO were brushed aside because of objections from the Europeans, who wanted as usual to piggyback on the US all across Asia, a continent where history has made them unwelcome in a military role.

Thus far, Bill Clinton has not disclosed the actual sources of the $16 billion that is controlled by him through the various NGOs that he heads. Some estimates speak of $11 billion coming from within the GCC, with the rest mostly from East Asia. In the interests of transparency, it is desirable that the Clintons reveal the actual donors to their various “charities”, rather than follow the example of their close friend Mitt Romney, who was for long very close-mouthed about the taxes (or lack of them) paid out of his huge income. In the period 1993-97 especially, then President Clinton lost the opportunity to make Russia part of the US-led alliance.

Had he treated the successors to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union more respectfully, rather than seeking to strip Russia of its technological sinews and its economic resources, Moscow would have been as docile a partner of Washington as London has been since 1945. Instead, mafias were backed under the Yeltsin interregnum to seek to destroy Russia as a functioning state. The clear intent was to see that the successor entity became so weak that it would lose all ability to function in a viable manner. 

Those who gained huge wealth because of their closeness to the mafias clustering around the Yeltsin household were helped to -in effect - relocate to the US and the UK, thereby placing the bulk of their capital in the hands of Washington and London and out of reach of Moscow. These so-called oligarchs became a Fifth Column burrowing deep into the Russian state, although it is another matter that by the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, it is China more than the NATO bloc that is reaping the commercial benefits of the hollowing out of the Russian state and economy.

Hillary Clinton apparently shares with Bill Clinton the latter’s lack of respect for Russia, a country with a noble people and great historical traditions that would not be obvious to some from the towns of Arkansas, a state not known for anything except Walmart and of course the Clintons. Those in the US, when asked about why the Department of Homeland Security — headed by a statesperson who ought to have been Secretary of State, Janet Napolitano — proved so incompetent in making sure that its own staff as well as that of the FBI and the CIA proved so remiss in identifying the Boston bomber Tamerlane Tsarnaev as a threat to security. This despite explicit warnings being conveyed by the Federal Security Bureau (FSB) in Moscow that the man had imbibed untra-radical views while on a visit to Dagestan, and needed to be carefully watched. A similar warning was conveyed by another Moscow-based security agency to the CIA about the same individual. Neither of these warnings was taken seriously. The FBI in particular clearly did only a perfunctory check of the elder Tsarnaev sibling before concluding that any further investigation was a waste of time. What was the reason for such a lack of attention to a potential security risk?

It is the fact that the US State Department has neatly classified the globe into Good Guys and Bad Guys, and Russia was firmly placed in the latter category even after the USSR collapsed in 1992. In contrast, despite the growing volume of empirical evidence to the contrary, Saudi Arabia is among the “goodest” of the Good Guys. Which is why the warnings from Moscow about Tamerlane Tsarnaev were ignored, while Saudi nationals at the site of the Boston bombings were allowed to leave the US without being questioned, despite their suspicious behaviour, activity recorded by closed-circuit television.

In 2001 as well, Saudi nationals were allowed to leave the US after 9/11,despite having provided huge amounts of money to some of those involved in the plot to destroy the WTC Twin Towers. After all, Bad Guys can do nothing right, while Good Guys can do no wrong. It is this simplistic calculus that has created a security vulnerability for the US, which needs to go to a Zero Base system, where every country (including those in the EU, many hundreds of whose nationals are now busily fighting in insurgencies worldwide) is treated the same. Because Hillary Clinton, in a sense, misled Janet Napolitano, the Boston bombings occurred. Hopefully, the lessons will be learnt from this episode, especially in Syria, where Francois Hollande is eager to protect his armaments industry and is therefore afraid that Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will stop buying French military equipment should the EU arms embargo not get lifted. 

Extremist violence now spawns the globe, and the battle to defeat it mandates cooperation across continents. From now onwards, hopefully the FBI will no longer treat Russian warnings with the lack of seriousness that the Clintons displayed to Moscow.

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