"Hey, let's just hire Tom DeLay!" OK, how do you say that in Russian? I dunno, maybe they used saltier language. And by "they" I mean the former communists in one country who paid Tom DeLay to support former communists in another country ... against the interests of his own country
Tom DeLay's Russian connections have finally hit the legal fan, it would appear, reminding us all of the good old days, the days when FOX News repeated talking points from the people who were shooting at our planes during the Kosovo affair.
via MOMENT OF TRIUMPH
It was at about this time that I was finally realizing how useless the 'news' was in this country. Stratfor
was getting started, right here in Austin, Texas, back when they were worth a damn (before their co-founder was shot and killed). Idiots on the right said that Kosovo was all about hiding the Clenis™. They simply could not take their eyes off of Clinton's penis, they missed the second half of the nineties. (come to think of it, maybe that's why the nineties were so cool: all the freeptards left us alone 'cause they just couldn't get enough of Clinton's penis). Idiots on the left claimed that Kosovo was a humanitarian adventure.
After a few days on Stratfor, reading copy written for by and for adults for a change, I could collar both of them and slam their noses against a map and say "LOOK AT THAT!" and tell them about Sevastopol and the importance of Turkey in the Cold War and the concept of the "Pillars of Europe" and the gas fields and pipelines and Azerbaijan and the attempts by the former USSR to reassert hegemony in the area by appealing to a specious Slavic solidarity and the mystical meaning (not to mention the odd demographics) of Kosovo to Serbs and the transmogrification of a handful of mobsters into a nascent nationalist movement due to a botched siege that no one had heard about in this country. The US was up against a resurgent Russia for influence in a piece of real estate that hadn't stopped being important just becaues the Cold War was over.
And most Americans didn't know it, thanks to the poor quality of American "journalism," which has only gotten worse.
Oh, and by the way: Tom DeLay was working for the Russians.
Needless to say, when confronted with the world of adults, the leftists were taken aback (shaken out of their comfortable Bennetton advertisement universe) and the right-wingers called me a "liberal" (whatever that means) and went back to staring at Clinton's stupendous penis.
[sigh] It's kind of lonely when no one else is in your league. Fortunately for people like us, there's the blogsphere.
As I mentioned, in the morning I could tune into B-93 online and hear the students from Belgrade lampooning the official, Milosevic line. By the evening I could turn on FOX News and hear the exact same things. Well, it turns out that for Tom DeLay the connection was a little less incidental.
Just one more example of Tom's payola career.
Via Drum and The News Blog, I eventually googled around and found this old gem: Tom Delay's statements on the Kosovo War.
* "There's no national interest of the United States in Kosovo. It's flawed policy and it was flawed to go in. I think this president is one of the least effective presidents of my life time. He's hollowed out our forces while running round the world with these adventures." The Guardian, 5/17/99
- "American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy." Floor Statement on Resolution on Peacekeeping Operations in Kosovo, 3/11/99
- "Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly. We must stop giving the appearance that our foreign policy is formulated by the Unabomber." Floor Statement on Resolution on Peacekeeping Operations in Kosovo, 3/11/99
- "Mr. Chairman, I rise today to voice my complete opposition to sending American troops to Kosovo. There is simply no vision to this mission. There is a six-year trend to send American troops anywhere for any reason, but there are no consistent goals that tie all of these missions together." Floor Statement on Resolution on Peacekeeping Operations in Kosovo, 3/11/99
- "I rise today to state that no defense funds should be used for ground forces in Kosovo unless authorized by Congress." Floor Statement, 4/15/99
- "So what they are doing here is they are voting to continue an unplanned war by an administration that is incompetent of [sic] carrying it out. I hope my colleagues will vote against this resolution." Floor Statement on S. Con. Res. 21, 4/15/99
- "It is clear that any deployment to Kosovo will similarly drag on and go enormously over budget." Floor Statement, 4/28/99
- "When asked the question, `what if he does not come to the table,' they said, `well, we will go to Phase 2, and Phase 2 is that we will bomb for a few more days. Then he will be going to the table, by crackie.' And when we asked, `Then, what?' then they said, `well, we will bomb for another week and that will force him to come to the table and this will be all over with.' And then when we asked, `Then, what?' there was silence. This administration started a war without a plan farther along than two weeks." Floor Statement, 4/28/99
- "I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today." Floor Statement, 4/28/99
- "Instead of sending in ground troops, we should pull out the forces we now have in the region. Mr. Speaker, I do not think we should send ground troops to Kosovo and I do not think we should be bombing in the Balkans, and I do not think that NATO should be destroyed by changing its mission into a humanitarian invasion force." Floor Statement, 4/28/99
- "So what they are doing here is they are voting to continue an unplanned war by an administration that is incompetent of carrying it out. I hope my colleagues will vote against the resolution." Floor Statement, 4/28/99
- "It's very simple. The president is not supported by the House, and the military is supported by the House." As quoted in USA Today, regarding Floor votes on Kosovo, 4/30/99
- "For us to call this a victory and to commend the President of the United States as the Commander in Chief showing great leadership in Operation Allied Force is a farce." Floor Statement opposing resolution commending America's successful campaign in Kosovo, 7/1/99
Now never mind that this is the kind of thing that'll get you branded a 'traitor' today, and never mind that we actually are dealing with an uncompetent administration and an unplanned war. Never mind that Clinton at least had a "Phase 2" when Bush was still playing with toy soldiers. No, never mind all of that, because this is even blacker than it looks.
You see, at the time, I assumed that Tom was just trashing Bill Clinton because Tom is a partisan hack. I was wrong.
Tom DeLay said that because Tom DeLay was paid to say that.
Lapin and Mr. Murder have already done some great legwork on this. Via War and Piece I've found out oh so much more about the people who rented Tom DeLay's mouth, not to mention his vote:
The Russian oil company that has supplied fuel to the Liman, the Kildin, and the rest of the Black Sea Fleet, has been bankrolling a political influence operation in Washington. Working through a cutout in the Bahamas, NaftaSib is paying a prominent D.C. law and public relations firm, Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, to influence congressional staff, lawmakers, editorial writers and journalists. A NaftaSib executive involved in the influence effort is tied to GRU military intelligence. Most of the targets are conservative Republicans. In 1995, the same lobbyists were paid to represent the then Milosevic-controlled government of Montenegro, Yugoslavia.
That's right, the former communist hardliner turned nationalist extremist and race baiter, Milosevic already owned hisself a few pet Republicans. When Milosevic's little fifteenth-century Petar Nyegos fantasy started piling up bodies, he turned to his kennel of pet Republicans to keep Clinton and the rest of the world at bay. But we'll get to that in a second. In the meantime, did someone say "Bahamas"?
A six-day trip to Moscow in 1997 by then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the trip arrangements.
DeLay reported that the trip was sponsored by a Washington-based nonprofit organization. But interviews with those involved in planning DeLay's trip say the expenses were covered by a mysterious company registered in the Bahamas that also paid for an intensive $440,000 lobbying campaign.
It is unclear precisely how the money was transferred from the Bahamian-registered company to the nonprofit.
That's their bag-man, Mon. Yes. And the people behind this cut-out?
"In August 1997," wrote Franklin Foer in the May 5, 2005 issue of The New Republic, ...
"NaftaSib's line of business is as shady as it is menacing," comments Mark Ames, editor of the Moscow-based journal eXile. In addition to controlling interests in numerous oil and natural gas companies and the role it plays in dubious "buy-back" deals with regional governments in the former Soviet republics, NaftaSib is involved in what Ames calls "security" deals -- what students of the American underworld would call "protection rackets." Many of the firm's top managers, Ames reports, are siloviki -- a Russian term referring to "hard" or "powerful" figures connected to Soviet-era internal security and intelligence agencies, particularly the GRU (Russian military intelligence) and KGB.
NaftaSib is also "deeply tied into the MchS, the emergency situations ministry," continues Ames. MchS covered up the involvement of Russian intelligence agencies against Russian citizens and, notably, was "in charge of `clean up' at the scene of the controversial apartment bombings in 1999 that helped propel Putin to power...."
So here's the payoff (via Atrios).
Kevin Drum offers another good reason to move to expel DeLay right now. Kevin recalls correctly that DeLay was on Milosevich's side against Bill Clinton. He doesn't mention the extraordinary maneuver by which DeLay managed to send an encouraging message to the enemy while our men and women in uniform were in harm's way, by promising Clinton a resolution of support for the air war and then arranging for it to come to the floor and fail. (Of course, DeLay wasn't alone among Republicans, back then, in hating the President more than he hated the mass murderer the President was trying to rein in.)
And now we know, as Kevin points out, that DeLay was doing all of this as the beneficiary of largesse from the Russian security services.
In the next couple of posts on my blog
, I'll show how the blogsphere has already shown DeLay's continuing relationship with these same people, something that may finally have caught up with him in the courts.
Of course, I should note that Tom DeLay was recently appointed to the committee overseeing the investigation of Abramoff. It'll be interesting to see if Tom think he can spring his own Saturday Night Massacre.