Tuesday, June 2, 2015

#153 / Masters Of War #2

David Sirota, a political commentator and radio host based in Denver (and a former press secretary for Bernie Sanders, when Sanders was in the House of Representatives), has written a recent column about foreign government donations to the Clinton Foundation:

The Clinton-led State Department ... authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that gave to the Clinton Foundation. That was a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

This apparent favoritism by the Secretary of State towards foreign governments that donated to the Clinton Foundation is concerning. Arms exports to Algeria is a "for instance" cited by Sirota: 

As just one of many examples, in its 2011 Human Rights Report, Clinton's State Department slammed Algeria's government for imposing "restrictions on freedom of assembly and association," tolerating "arbitrary killing," "widespread corruption" and a "lack of judicial independence."

That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and the next year Clinton's State Department approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country. The jump included authorizations for almost 50,000 items classified as "toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment." The State Department had not authorized the export of any of such items to Algeria the year before.

There is another aspect of this possible arms deals for donations operation that is not really highlighted in the foregoing quotes from the Sirota article

Every arms export to a foreign government approved by the Secretary of State meant that some arms manufacturer, somewhere, made a sale they otherwise wouldn't have been able to make. 

You remember those arms manufacturers, don't you? Bob Dylan called them the "Masters Of War."

You that build all the guns 
You that build the death planes 
You that build the big bombs 
You that hide behind walls

Was it the buyers only, or was the Clinton Foundation getting donations from the arms makers, too?

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