By Chris Floyd - The Moscow Times
Feb 28, 2003.
-The rule of law is
dead. - |
Rumsfeld "can't recall" discussing the
Korean deal at ABB board meetings
It's a well-known fact -- oft detailed in these
pages -- that the boys in the Bush Regime swing both ways. We speak, of
course, of their proclivity -- their apparently uncontrollable craving --
for stuffing their trousers with loot from both sides of whatever war or
military crisis is going at the moment.
That's why it came as no
surprise to read last week that just before he joined the Regime's
crusade against evildoers everywhere (especially rogue states that
pursue the development of terrorist-ready weapons of mass
destruction), Pentagon warlord Donald Rumsfeld was trousering the
proceeds from a $200 million deal to send the latest nuclear
technology -- including plenty of terrorist-ready "dirty bomb"
material -- to the rogue state of North Korea, Neue Zurcher Zeitung
In 1998, Rumsfeld was citizen
chairman of the Congressional Ballistic Missile Threat Commission,
charged with reducing nuclear proliferation. Rumsfeld and the
Republican-heavy commission came down hard on the deal Bill Clinton
had brokered with North Korea to avert a war in 1994: Pyongyang
would give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for normalized
relations with the United States, plus the construction of two
non-weaponized nuclear plants to generate electricity. The plants
were to be built by an international consortium of government-backed
business interests called KEDO.
Rum deal, said Rummy: Those
nasty Northies would surely turn the peaceful nukes to nefarious
ends. What's more, even the most innocuous nuclear plant generates
mounds of radioactive waste that could be made into "dirty bombs" --
hand-carried weapons capable of killing thousands of people. The
agreement was big bad juju that threatened the whole world, Rumsfeld
Of course, that didn't prevent
him from trying to profit from it. Even while chairing commission
meetings on the "dire threat" posed by the Korean program, Rumsfeld
was junketing to Zurich for board meetings of the Swiss-based energy
technology giant, ABB, where he was a top director. And what was ABB
doing at the time? Why, negotiating that $200 million deal with
North Korea to provide equipment and services for the KEDO nuclear
reactors, of course!
Yes, nuclear proliferation is
ugly stuff -- but you might as well squeeze a few dollars from it,
right? A smart guy always plays the angles -- and, as the
hero-worshiping American media never stop telling us, Rumsfeld is
one smart guy.
In fact, he's so smart that he's
now playing dumb. A Pentagon spokesman says Rumsfeld "can't recall"
discussing the Korean deal at ABB board meetings. And his erstwhile
ABB corporate colleagues say that it's possible the subject never
came up. Of course it didn't; going into the nuclear business with a
Communist tyranny that very nearly launched a nuclear war against
the West just four years before, in a deal that involved high-level
negotiations with the governments of the United States, South Korea,
Japan and the European Union -- that's certainly the kind of thing
that would be handled by a couple of junior executives in a branch
office somewhere. Nothing for the bigwigs -- especially hard-wired
government players like Rumsfeld -- to trouble their pretty heads
about. A perfectly reasonable explanation.
And so Rumsfeld joins the roster
of Bush Regime multimillionaires who once trumpeted their "business
savvy" as selling points for their right to national leadership but
now claim to have been "hands-off" figureheads who had no idea what
their companies were up to. Bush, in his sinkhole of insider trading
and stockholder scamming at Harken; Cheney, making fat deals with
Saddam Hussein (yes, after the Gulf War) and muddying up the
corporate books at Halliburton; Army Secretary Thomas White, gaming
the power grid and stealing millions for Enron in the manufactured
California "energy crisis" -- all of them went from mighty moguls to
mere "front men" the instant their corruption was brought to light.
None of it was their fault; nothing ever is.
Whatever happened to Bush's
much-trumpeted "era of responsibility?" These guys are not only
chiselers, hustlers, hypocrites and war profiteers -- they're a
bunch of gutless wonders as well. So you'll pardon us if we are just
the tiniest bit cynical about the "moral arguments for war" and
other such buckets of warm spit this gang is now forcing down the
And what became of that 1994
pact with North Korea? UN inspectors entered the country to make
sure the weapons program was put on ice. Pyongyang signed a number
of lucrative deals with various politically-connected Western firms,
like ABB, to build the promised energy plants, while waiting for the
normalization of relations with the United States to begin -- a move
which most observers thought would set North Korea on a course
toward China-style "moderation" of its monolithic regime.
But normalization never came.
Clinton, pressured by rightwing forces (such as Rumsfeld's
commission) who opposed any truck whatsoever with godless commies,
did his usual folding number, with much windy suspiration of forced
breath -- and no action. The KEDO companies pocketed Pyongyang's
cash but dithered about the actual construction. Pyongyang -- while
not exactly a font of smiling cooperation itself -- concluded that
the pact was being deep-sixed. This suspicion was confirmed when
Bush took office, calling Korean leader Kim Jong Il a "pygmy" and
declaring the county part of the "axis of evil."
Pyongyang then accelerated its
weapons program, kicked out the UN inspectors, and is now
threatening to unleash a nuclear war if Bush, a la Iraq, makes a
A dicey situation, sure -- but
at least Don Rumsfeld made some money out of it.