Few people remember some of Abramoff's past incursions and transgressions, now that he's being led on down fifth amendment avenue and plea bargaining street. The weasel is a first rate example of corporate corruption in America and is what good Americans are deceived to fight and die for to help spread freedom throughout the world. These people pretend to work for the people of America, while they plot and scheme to line their pockets and finance their secret agendas. It's what free enterprise capitalism truly represents in the larger scheme of things- Underhanded deals and shady practices that undermine the value of American workers, using taxpayreers money to finance their dirty deeds while devalueing the American workers pay at home, by supporting sweatshop that can claim 'Made In America" Labels for huge corporations. All the while paying off foreign owners who do the dirtywork, so places like Wal-Mart can buy their goods and sell them cheap. Thus undermining the wages of Americans at home and destabilizing trade unions and small businesses in America and elsewhere. Policies and intent.
This full time criminal has a history of problems dating back to 1972 as a sleazy lowlife. Many people were advised not to meet with him, because they said he was a rather suspicious guy and pretty “slick.”
The Los Angeles Times reports Abramoff’s first political scandal dates back to 1972 when he ran for student council president at the Hawthorne School, an elementary and middle school in Beverly Hills California. Abramoff was reportedly disqualified for exceeding the spending limit in the race. In college Abramoff teamed up with two students who would become household names in Washington to take over the College Republican National Committee. They were anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, founder of the Christian Coalition. After college Abramoff’s resume was diverse, from his brief Hollywood career to his secret dealings with the South African apartheid regime.
A 1995 investigation by Newsday revealed that Abramoff helped run a think–tank called the International Freedom Foundation. The organization was set up in 1986 and its goal was to improve the white South African apartheid government’s image in the West while demonizing Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress as communist tools. The Newsday report also quoted sources saying that the South African military helped finance the 1988 movie "Red Scorpion" which Abramoff wrote and produced. The movie was a sympathetic portrayal of an anti-communist African guerrilla commander and loosely based on Jonas Savimbi, the Angolan rebel leader who was an ally of both South Africa’s apartheid government and the U.S government. As if the Abramoff scandal wasn't difficult and crazy to follow already, check out what he was doing in 1989.
A Russian KGB agent is sent to Africa to kill an anti-Communist black revolutionary. However, he has a change of heart when he sees how the Russians and their Cuban allies are killing and repressing the locals, so he switches sides and helps the rebels. Not bad for Dolph Lundgren German turned Commie in a Jewish produced American propaganda film. Talk about twists and turns everywhere.
Abramoff’s special relationship with the South Pacific island of Saipan and how it connects to his ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Saipan is an American territory in the South Pacific also known as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. In the mid-1990s Abramoff was on the payroll of Saipan officials aiming to stop legislation that would crack down on sweat shop conditions, which run rampant on the island. In 1997, Abramoff arranged a lavish trip to the island of Saipan for Delay.
The Delay trip was originally reported by Brian Ross, Chief Investigative Correspondent for ABC News on ABC’s 20/20 on March 13th, 1998.
Allan Stayman, a Clinton administration official in the Department of Interior who was investigating labor conditions in Saipan, and a worker Tu Xiao Mei in one of the factories and Eric Gregoire, a human rights worker, were interviewed by Brian Ross. Most of the workers in these factories are from mainland China.
Ross- "American authorities discovered many Chinese workers are forced to sign secret agreements, shadow contracts, before they leave China, severely and, in some ways, illegally restricting their activities while on American soil. In this agreement workers are forbidden to participate in any religious or political activity or to ask for a salary increase or even to fall in love or get married.
STAYMAN: "To allow them to bring that on to U.S. soil is a very deep concern. We've now documented the facts that management coerces female workers who become pregnant into having abortions.
BRIAN ROSS: Several of the cases, the government says it has documented, were at this factory, the one with a contract to make Ralph Lauren Polo t-shirts. This Chinese woman, Tu Xiao Mei, made t-shirts and pants at the factory until she became pregnant.
TU XIAO MEI: When I told them I was pregnant, they told me to have an abortion.
BRIAN ROSS: She refused to have the abortion and has now been barred from entering the factory.
BRIAN ROSS: And you're going to have your baby?
BRIAN ROSS: Will you get your job back then?
TU XIAO MEI: Cannot.
The bosses at the factory said they didn't want to talk about what they called ridiculous allegations. But human rights workers say it's common practice at this factory and others.
ERIC GREGOIRE: With 11,000 Chinese workers here, I have never seen a Chinese garment factory worker have a baby in my entire four years on Saipan.
BRIAN ROSS: There are no children in those barracks?
ERIC GREGOIRE: None. Inside that factory Chinese law applies, and Chinese law is supreme.
BRIAN ROSS: Even though it's the United States of America?
ROSS: Saipan has cultivated some powerful friends back in Washington, spending millions of dollars on lobbyists and free trips in the middle of the winter for members of Congress and their staff. Congressman Tom DeLay of Houston, the third-ranking Republican in the House, went as a guest of the Saipan government over the Christmas holiday, a trip that included a tour of several factories and barracks, with one that even Congressman DeLay had to concede was nothing to write home about.
TOM DeLAY: But, you know, this trip has been very beneficial.
BRIAN ROSS: Still, at a fancy New Year's Eve dinner thrown in his honor, DeLay praised the outgoing governor and vowed to fight efforts back in Washington to change Saipan's immigration and labor laws.
TOM DeLAY: Because you are a shining light for what is happening in the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we're trying to do in America, in leading the world in the free market system.
BRIAN ROSS: And DeLay is just one of more than 80 influential congressmen and congressional staff members who have been brought out to Saipan, most put up, as was DeLay, at the beachfront Hyatt Regency. About as far from the island sweatshops as it is possible to get on Saipan.
ERIC GREGOIRE: They're paying your way, so, of course, you're going to see what they want you to see.
BRIAN ROSS: They haven't seen the Saipan you’ve seen.
ERIC GREGOIRE: You can't see much from the Hyatt.
The man behind the scenes in every case was Jack Abramoff. In the footage on World News Tonight last night showing DeLay arriving in Saipan. He’s wearing a funny-colored floral hat and is greeted by a man in a beard who's Jack Abramoff. Big bear hugs all around. And it was Abramoff then who shepherded him around the island, made sure he would see what he wanted him to see. And DeLay took his family along. It was New Year's Eve. Temperatures were very nice, much nicer than back in the States. And that's what Abramoff was able to achieve. DeLay then became active in blocking legislation that would have cracked down on some of those terrible labor practices in Saipan.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to the issue of forced abortion, which is astounding given Tom DeLay's stand on abortion. Can you talk about that?
BRIAN ROSS: Well, it's completely counter to anything that DeLay or most Republicans seem to espouse, that was, on that island there were forced abortions. And the female workers knew the rules. And they were barred from having boyfriends and certainly barred from having children if they became pregnant. They knew where to go, and there were a few essential back-alley abortion mills on the island. That's part of the situation that was essentially endorsed by DeLay when he fought the laws. The laws were established essentially exempting Saipan, although it is a U.S. territory, from U.S. labor laws.
GOODMAN: So, of course, the clothing that is made there says “Made in the U.S.A.”
BRIAN ROSS: Exactly right. They have the exemptions made in the U.S.A. Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, all the major brands have garment factories there, owned primarily by Chinese industrialists from Hong Kong who brought in Chinese material. And the Chinese workers who lived in something akin to -- I don't want to call it a labor camp, but it was surrounded by barbed wire. They were taken on the backs of trucks to these factories. They work 10, 12 hours a day, then brought back to their camps. An ugly scene there, one that was defended effectively by the garment manufacturers and by the government of Saipan at the time, with the expenditure of millions of dollars on Jack Abramoff.
GOODMAN- In a memo that ABC News got that Abramoff wrote to his law firm, Preston, Gates, Ellis (& Rouvelas, Meeds, at the time), that was paid $1.36 million by Saipan officials, said such congressional trips, talking about Tom DeLay, are one of the most effective ways to build permanent friends on the Hill.
BRIAN ROSS: Exactly what they did. And, of course, Abramoff has now admitted that he used these trips as ways essentially of providing favors to congressmen who in return would do favors for him on Capitol Hill. And it's not just Saipan. Of course, other trips to Scotland, to Moscow, to Paris, all around the world. Abramoff was a very friendly travel agent for members of Congress who wanted to go somewhere.
What he accomplished was to stop legislation, which is easier to do than to get it through. He was able to block legislation that would have changed the labor and immigration laws in Saipan and made it illegal to have these kinds of contracts. You couldn't have a contract like that in Los Angeles or anyplace else of the United States where the flag flies. But you could in Saipan. That was the loophole they were trying to close under the Clinton administration.
When people at the Department of Interior attempted to do that, DeLay actually tried to introduce a bill to cut off funding for that particular section of the Department of Interior, to stop them from essentially backing the workers’ claims. And it became an ugly situation on Capitol Hill. And DeLay and others, but DeLay in particular, were involved in blocking the legislation and making sure that that status quo continued on Saipan.
Yesterday Abramoff admitted to defrauding four Indian tribe clients out of millions of dollars. Those tribes include the Louisiana Coushatta, the Mississippi Choctaws, the Saginaw Chippewas of Michigan and the Tigua of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in Texas. The tribes hired Abramoff to represent them in Washington regarding casino and gambling issues. As their lobbyist, Abramoff instructed the tribes to make political donations to certain politicians and recommended they hire a former aide of Tom DeLay named Michael Scanlon as their publicist. Scanlon charged hugely inflated rates. What Abramoff didn’t tell the tribes was that Scanlon was secretly his business partner and that in some cases Abramoff was also working for groups with competing policy goals.
In all, Abramoff and Scanlon received more than $66 million in fees. Some of this money was secretly diverted to a variety of Abramoff’s personal projects including an Orthodox Jewish academy and an Israeli sniper school. Some money also went to pay off a personal debt.
In 2002, Abramoff and Scanlon quietly worked with conservative religious activist Ralph Reed to persuade the state of Texas to shut down the Tigua tribe’s Standing Rock casino on the grounds that the casino violated Texas’ limited gambling laws. Abramoff then went to the Tiguas and promised to use his influence to reopen the casino, charging the tribe $4.2 million.
Meanwhile, Abramoff and Scanlon collected millions of dollars from a Louisiana tribe to oppose all gaming in the Texas Legislature.
During the 2004 Senate Indian Affair Committee hearings, emails were made public in which Abramoff referred to tribal members as “trogdolytes” and “morons”. In one email released by the Senate committee, Abramoff wrote to Scanlon, “I have to meet with the monkeys from the Choctaw tribal counsel.”
“It is a story of greed run amuck. It is a story of two already powerful, wealthy men lining their own pockets with the hard-earned money of people whom they held in contempt and disregard.”
Abramoff had done good work for the Mississippi Choctaw. And they didn't know at the time that he was working for the Louisiana Coushattas, who as former Senator Campbell was saying, that they opposed the competition on the east side of Texas in regards to gaming. So what happened was Abramoff came in, and he says, ‘I've got the perfect solution,’ again, unknown that he had used Ralph Reed to shut us down.
Out of something like 557 recognized tribes in America, less than half have casinos. And out of the half that do have casinos, in my view, there's only about 10% that are what we would call super successful, making these huge dollars you hear, when the vast majority of Indian people are still dirt poor and struggling every day to try to get an education for their kids or to try to make ends meet from a financial standpoint.
There always seems to be a loophole or a way, if people are not of good heart and good spirit, to circumvent the process. But I still believe the tribes were really more innocent victims than they were a party to anything that was done that was inappropriate.
Mr. Abramoff is Jewish, and I've always had a very close feeling for Jewish people, because I know the history of what they've gone through in the world, through the Holocaust and so many other things. I remember asking him, in committee, under oath -- I said, “How could you, a person that is of Jewish background, who knows what your own people have gone through, how could you take advantage of another people who have gone through many of the same things?” I mean, there are some Indian people, you know, that call the days from Columbus up to now as “the 400-year holocaust.” I've heard that referred to it. They've done their share of suffering, and I couldn't believe that a person like Abramoff, whose ancestry is Jewish, could get involved in something like that. But unfortunately, he took the Fifth on me on every question I asked him. He just simply wouldn't answer.
In at least two instances Abramoff and Scanlin sought to profit by becoming involved in and attempting to manipulate tribal elections. They helped elect council members at no charge, but apparently with the understanding that they would be compensated later.”
BEN NIGHTHORSE CAMPBELL: Yes. That's true. It's called election rigging, and it’s a federal offense. And that was my understanding from the research that we had done and our investigators had done, that they had got involved with at least two tribes and tried to rig the election by doing advertising for the candidates they wanted to win and generating some opposition to the ones that they wanted to lose, with a kind of a quid pro quo understanding that if the ones that they got elected won, they would get some kind of return favor, a lobbying favor. If any Indian people entered that agreement knowingly, then they should also be held accountable, I think, because nobody should affect a tribal election except tribal members, in my view.
Abramoff's finances have found some of the money meant for inner city kids went, instead, to fight the Palestinian intifada. More than $140,000 of foundation funds were actually sent to the Israeli West Bank where they were used by a Jewish settler to mobilize against the Palestinian uprising. Among the expenditures, purchases of camouflage suits, sniper scopes, night vision binoculars, a thermal imager and other material described in foundation records as security equipment. The F.B.I. sources tell Newsweek it's now examining these payments as part of a larger investigation to determine if Abramoff defrauded his Indian tribe clients.
So, who knows, they may never recover their losses, but they're certainly going to come out of this whole experience a heck of a lot wiser and be a lot more careful on the people that they ask to carry their voice to Washington.
He approached us in mid-2003, and he says, ‘Look, guys, you all have some tribal members that are above 75 years of age, I'd like to be able to buy insurance policies on them.’ He would pay the premiums and he would be the beneficiary. That's unheard of in our culture. We just don't do that. But that's the extreme of the greed that he came to. We, as a council, told him, “That's unheard of. It's not going to be held.” But he still proposed it one more time just to see if he could get the insurance policies on our elders.
The reason these people exist is because we let them get away with it. When over 50% of Americans say that most of congress is corrupt and allow it, then we are the problem as well. It allows our leaders, corporations and military to treat us as a ways to a means and as mere tools for their purpose. They seem to feel they're exempt from the socially imposed contract that brings shame and constraint on the average citizen, because they know that we are co-apted by pittance rewards of security and family values. When we finally wake up from our sleep, perhaps we will begin by cleaning house, bringing these greedy warmongers to justice and vote the lot of them out. Anything would be better than the lottery game to success we live now to the lying, cheating thieves that we're expected to emulate to suceed in this society. It is an obvious method of deception that is intended to reward those that comply with its strategems and cares nothing for true values, fair exchange, and equality.
Why Abramoff can succeed is because he speaks their language. He proves that the elitist American stance is the approach they use to oppress and control the masses to do their bidding. And it's OK to do it. Just don't get caught. Now watch the RePIGlicans And DemoRATS scurry about trying to save themselves.
America is a lie. It stands for corruption and we are guilty of letting it exist. No wonder when all they can educate us with is greed, and not with the truth. And we fall for it. Teaching us how to think would undermine their advantage over us, to let us in on their games. So we remain blind and asleep year after ear and swallow the lies.
Their motto- Keep America Stupid.
Excerpts from Democracy now.
Completely sane world
madness the only freedom
An ability to see both sides of a question
one of the marks of a mature mind
People don't choose to be dishonest
the choice chooses them
Now I know how Kusinich feels.