If McCain wants to make this election about associations, it should only be fair to examine some of McCain’s associations. If London is up-in-arms over a politician's connections with this same Russian thug, why shouldn’t McCain’s connections with the same thug be questioned? McCain’s lobbyists pals were allegedly hired to allow Deripaska access into the U.S. at a time when he was banned for Russian Mafia connections, and there are rumors of an Airbus connection with McCain and Deripaska, which was to allow this McCain Pal to supply all the aluminum for the Airbus refueling tankers, which we all remember were going to Boeing before McCain intervened in the process.
I do not know why McCain would want to even meet with someone like this.
The allegations of special favors here are much worse than anything Senator Obama was to have done with Bill Ayers; yet, not one member of the media has felt the need to question Senator McCain about his connections to this Russian thug. And unlike Bill Ayers, the alleged trespasses of McCain's pal are not ancient history, read below about what he has been up to lately in Israel.
A conservative in the European Parliament recently gave Mandelson a public scolding for lack of prudence for having close ties with Deripaska:
"In any dealings with members of Russia's current political or financial hierarchies, any politician should be extremely cautious and dubious."
Why are not conservatives in this country calling for John McCain to be cautious and dubious about his dealings with this very same man? On Letterman the other night McCain said he would give a complete accounting about any relationship he has had. Here is the full quote:
Everything about any relationship that I’ve had I will make completely open and give a complete accounting of.
Well, Senator McCain I have some questions for you regarding Mr. Deripaska. I am sure you want to keep your promise to David Letterman and give us all a complete and open accounting of your relationship with Oleg Deripaska. Or was this just another statement like the last time, when you told Dave you were in the car on the way to Washington. I think what you did to Dave is very telling of the type of President you would be --say one thing while doing another.
The following are questions that John McCain needs to answer to clear up his associations with this Russian Thug. I will try to explain the back story to each below. I am sure there are many more questions that need asking here. You can provide some in the comments and I will post them up in updates.
- What role did you play in helping Oleg Deripaska obtain a visa to visit the USA and why would you do so, when he allegedly used bribery, intimidation, violence, and, possibly even, assassination to amass his fortune, and there was a RICO lawsuit filed against him in 2000 in New York district court, alleging that he threatened the lives of two aluminum industry rivals?
- If you claimed to have looked in Putin’s eyes and seen KGB, why would you meet with this friend of Putin’s on at least two different occasions? What did you talk about?
- Did you sell out Boeing in the contract negations to build a new U.S. in-air refueling tanker because you wanted your Russian Pal, Oleg, to make millions off supplying aluminum to Airbus?
- Did Oleg Deripaska help fund a campaign fundraiser for you at London’s posh Spencer House on March 20, 2008? Did any amount of money come from Deripaska to fund this event in any manner or respect? How about, is there any money from him hidden, illegally, inside the inflated amount of one of your bundlers?
- Did Oleg Deripaska pay your campaign manager, Rick Davis, to run a campaign to help Montenegro seek independence from Serbia? Did any of the money Rick Davis received from the state of Montenegro to run their independence campaign originate from Oleg Deripaska in any manner?
- What other special favors have you done for Oleg Deripaska?
- If you were elected president, why should we not expect Oleg Deripaska to be sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom on the night before you make secret deals benefiting this thug at the expense of the American people?
- Has Sarah Palin ever looked out the window of her home in Alaska and thought she saw Montenegro?
- Is this how you are going to run U.S. foreign policy, saying one thing in public-- I see KGB in his eyes-- and then running around in secret with Putin's inner circle? Is this all part of what will go on in the "dark side" of your speak softly and carry a big stick, McCain Doctrine?
Here is the whole story.
The New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Kos, and the Wall Street Journal have all reported on McCain’s meetings with Deripaska (follow the links to read all about it.)
This is not a post about conspiracy theories; all I have tried to do is put down what is out there, which I think is enough to raise serious questions about McCain's connections to this man. I am laying down dots, not connecting them --only John McCain can do that by answering questions about his Russian Pal. This all is very hypocritical of
Mc-I-see-KGB McCain in regard to his stated foreign policy stance on Russia -- how can you ever say again with a straight face you could possibly deal honestly with Russia after meeting and having dealings with Deripaska. As I link to below, this guy is in Putin's inner circle, follow some of the links, and see what they did together in Montenegro. This all raises some serious ethical questions that Senator McCain needs to answer.
Who Is Oleg Deripaska?
Oleg Deripaska is a 40-year-old aluminum baron from Russia, that is considered by Forbes to be the wealthiest man in a Russian and among the 10 richest people in the word – a fortune that includes a 5% stake in the General Motors Corp and ownership in a Montenegro aluminum plant which used to be worth 40 percent of the country's GDP and some 80 percent of its export earnings, when the plant was state controlled by Montenegro. He also may be vying to purchasethe Hummer brand from General Motors. Through consolidation of much of the aluminum produced in Russia, he produces an eighthof the world's supply of aluminum. This Russian billionaire is still in Putin’s good graces -- and in the past has even traveled toeconomic summits as part of Putin’s entourage.
There would not be a problem with having wealthy friends, but it is how Deripaska is alleged to have acquired his wealth that is the problem. It is these claims that have caused Deripaska to be banned from the United States, and exactly why McCain should not be palling around Switzerlandwith this murdering scoundrel (see that same link for the banned in the USA story).
The Wall Street Journal claims that Deripaska used "bribery, intimidation and violence to amass his fortune" and that these practices were the rationale behind the State Department preventing Deripaska from getting a visa to enter the United Sates. The story claims that Deripaska was in trouble for "allegedly lying to the FBI about his involvement with organized crime."
Mr. Deripaska has long beendogged by allegations from business rivals in courts in the U.S. and U.K. that he used bribery, intimidation and violence to amass his fortune. Those accusations, which he denies, have never been substantiated and no criminal charges have been filed. But for years they helped keep the State Department from granting him a visa.
Well, that is an old quote because criminal charges have been filed in Germany and Israel. The German magazine Der Spiegal reported in 2007 that Deripaska was accused by the Stuttgart Prosecutor’s office in Germany with mob involvement, money laundering, bribing judges, and contracting to kill competitors. And see this article in the foreign press, apparently how McCain's pal likes to acquire his business interests and keep his money would not stand up to scrutiny in this country, or most, for that matter:
The Ansol case is already the second in a major western court in which Deripaska, the controlling shareholder of RusAl, and his CEO Alexander Bulygin, have faced criminal charges relating to the way in which they acquired their aluminum smelters, and operate elaborate international trading schemes that keep most of Rusal’s profits offshore, outside Russia.
It has been alleged that he acquired his billions during the collapse of the Soviet Union, while oligarchs like Deripaska fought in ruthless mafia wars over control of the country’s newly privatized state treasures:
Other more lurid stories go back to the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when ruthless oligarchs carved up the country's newly privatised state industries. Deripaska was involved in the struggle for control of an aluminium plant in Sayanogorsk in Siberia. The battle was so vicious that it became privatisation legend, and was dubbed "the aluminium war". At one point, it was alleged, his enemies tried to ambush him on a mountain road with a grenade launcher.
Like most post-Soviet success stories, Deripaska's rise began abruptly and violently, during the chaotic reign of Boris Yeltsin. Among all the battles for control of valuable state assets in the 1990s, none were as bloody as the "aluminum wars," in which organized-crime gangs hired by competing interests assassinated dozens of executives, shareholders and bankers.
It only gets better. This McCain pal is currently the subject of numerous lawsuits and criminal investigations around the world, including a RICO lawsuit here in the U.S. alleging he threatened the lives of two aluminum rivals:
During a visit to the United States in 1995, Deripaska threatened the lives of two aluminum rivals, Yuri and Mikhail Zhivilo, according to a RICO lawsuit filed against Deripaska in New York district court in 2000. The RICO case is just one of many lawsuits, including one filed in Israel by a former business partner claiming that Deripaska illegally wiretapped an Israeli cabinet minister. In addition, German prosecutors have begun a criminal money-laundering investigation in Stuttgart.
On more than one occasion Deripaska was accused of "ordering international espionage, computer hacking, wiretapping and subversion against his rivals or former partners," including a case in Israel in November 2007, where he was alleged to have wiretapped business rivals and the Israel Strategic Affairs Minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
What is the McCain connection?
It has been estimated that the U.S.A. ban, that would not allow McCain's Pal to acquire a visa, was costing Deripaska millions, so in 2003 he hired "Republicans connected with McCain" to lobby for a visa. We all know how that is going to turn out. We know he hired former Senator Bob Dole, a war hero and McCain pal, and Richard Burt, a top foreign policy adviser to McCain in 2000 and 2008. The lobbying, of course, worked, it always does with McCain, and Deripaska got his visa to come to the U.S.A. Here is a good summary from The Nation, but the same story is in the Washington Post and WSJ links listed above:
The visa ban was costing Deripaska billions: for years he and fellow RusAl shareholders had sought to cash in their wealth by launching an IPO in London, which could have netted up to $10 billion for RusAl's owners. However, finding institutional buyers would be difficult if not impossible as long as RusAl's primary owner was barred from entering the United States.
Despite rampant Russophobia among Republicans, Deripaska turned to powerful GOP figures to solve his problem--especially to Republicans connected with McCain. In 2003 Deripaska hired former presidential candidate Bob Dole, who had nearly picked McCain as his running mate, and Dole's lobbying partner Bruce Jackson (also a McCain aide) to lobby the State Department to overturn the visa ban, according to Glenn Simpson and Mary Jacoby of the Wall Street Journal. Over the next few years Dole's firm, Alston & Bird, was paid more than $500,000 to push for Deripaska's visa.
Deripaska also reached out to a Washington-based intelligence firm, Diligence, chaired by GOP foreign policy hand Richard Burt, McCain's top foreign policy adviser in 2000 and an adviser in '08 (Burt left Diligence in 2007 to join Henry Kissinger's consulting firm). Deripaska's business partner in London, Nathaniel Rothschild, an heir to the English Rothschild fortune, bought a stake in Diligence, according to the New York Times and confirmed by a Rothschild spokesman. The firm offered Deripaska many useful services: corporate intelligence gathering, visa lobbying through considerable GOP connections and, crucially, help in obtaining a $150 million World Bank/European Bank for Reconstruction and Development loan for a Deripaska subsidiary, the Komi Aluminum Project. Getting the loan was useful in providing a layer of comfort to Western investors skittish about RusAl. So Diligence, now partly owned by Rothschild, provided a "due diligence" report to the World Bank, which the Bank then used to approve its loan to Deripaska.
Not surprisingly, the lobbying worked: in December 2005 Deripaska was issued a multientry US visa, according to the State Department. During his brief stay he signed his World Bank loan, spoke at a Carnegie Endowment meeting and attended a dinner for Harvard University's Belfer Center, where, thanks to a generous donation, he became a member of its international council.
And we also knowfor sure that, thanks to Davis, Mc-bought-and-paid-for has met Deripaska at least twice:
The first gathering that brought McCain and Deripaska together occurred in January 2006, when McCain was part of a congressional delegation trip. He and a small group of senators, including Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and John E. Sununu (R-N.H.), met for a drink near Davos, Switzerland, at an apartment where they were greeted by Davis and Deripaska. The group then went to a dinner at the ski chalet of Peter Munk, founder of Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold-mining company, based in Toronto. Participants at the buffet dinner said Munk complimented his sometime business partner Deripaska during his brief remarks to the 40 or so guests.
Later that month, Deripaska wrote to Davis and his partner, GOP political consultant Paul J. Manafort, to thank them for arranging the meeting. "Thank you so much for setting up everything in Klosters so spectacularly," he wrote. "It was very interesting to meet Senators McCain, Chambliss and Sununu in such an intimate setting."
We also know that McCain’s Campaign Manager, Über-lobbyist, Rick Davis, received millions from the Government of Montenegro to help manage their campaign for independence from Serbia. Some have alleged that this money may have come from Deripaska. Also there was a campaign fundraiser for McCain that was believed to have been bankrolled by Deripaska. You can read the whole story here from The Nation, but here are a few choice highlights.
According to two former senior US diplomats who served in the Balkans, Davis and his lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, received several million dollars to help run Montenegro's independence referendum campaign of 2006. The terms of the agreement were never disclosed to the public, but top Montenegrin officials told the US diplomats that Davis's work was underwritten by powerful Russian business interests connected to the Kremlin and operating in Montenegro.
Roughly two years later, in March of this year, Rothschild hosted a high-dollar fundraiser for McCain at London's posh eighteenth-century Spencer House, which Rothschild donated for the occasion. Given the close relationship between Rothschild and Deripaska, some speculated that Deripaska was the hidden hand behind the event. The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging that the fundraiser amounted to an illegal contribution by foreign nationals to McCain's campaign.
This storyin Harpers also tried to align the dots regarding the fundraiser.
In regard to whether Deripaska and Mc-bought-and-paid-for discussed Boeing, refueling tankers, and aluminum during their two, confirmed, meetings in 2006 --I do not know. I could not confirm these rumors with any legitimate news stories or industry reports online. But the known meetings do take place in a awfully conspicuous place on the timeline of the Boeing refueling tanker saga ( If you can ignore the drivel in the title and conclusions of this Fox News story
, it does provide a good accounting of lobbyist who worked for EADS, against Boeing, before they came to run John McCain's campaign). Lets ask John McCain about it, and not speculate, that is all I am saying. But then, I would not expect to get an honest answer from him. Does anyone have Mr. Deripaska's phone number, maybe we can ask him? I think I would trust him over McCain.
What it all means
I strongly believe the allegations laid out here, are enough to legitimately cause McCain to have to answer questions about Deripaska before anyone could ever consider electing him? Don't they demand it!
According to the Washington post article linked above, McCain Campaign spokesman, Mark Salter, has said:
"Any contact between Mr. Deripaska and the senator was social and incidental."
Well, does that really fly in light of some of the dots laid out here? I think only John McCain can answer that question, and he must! If Senator Obama's connections to William Ayers is a legitimate question, why isn't McCain's dealings with Deripaska? Someone needs to talk me down, as Rachel Maddow likes to say. Someone, please, talk me down!
Even if McCain's pal, Deripaska, does nothing else for this campaign, even if he does not become an association-issue like William Ayers, maybe, he will, once and for all, end McCain's sham-claims to a "record as a pro-democracy champion and an advocate of reducing the influence of lobbyists in Washington."