Monday :: Mar 10, 2003

Now We Know Why Kissinger Resigned from 9/11 Commission


by Steve

If you read anything today, read the Sy Hersh piece in the New Yorker that got Richard Perle so worked up that he called Hersh a terrorist (see previous entry). If this doesn't call for a special prosecutor to look into other connections, I don't know what does. It also clarifies why Henry Kissinger wanted to resign from the chairmanship of the 9/11 Commission, rather than have to disclose all of his business dealings.

In January of this year, he ( Adnan Khashoggi) arranged a private lunch, in France, to bring together Harb Saleh al-Zuhair, a Saudi industrialist whose family fortune includes extensive holdings in construction, electronics, and engineering companies throughout the Middle East, and Richard N. Perle, the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, who is one of the most outspoken and influential American advocates of war with Iraq.

Perle is also a managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme Partners L.P., which was registered in November, 2001, in Delaware. Trireme’s main business, according to a two-page letter that one of its representatives sent to Khashoggi last November, is to invest in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense. The letter argued that the fear of terrorism would increase the demand for such products in Europe and in countries like Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

The letter mentioned the firm’s government connections prominently: “Three of Trireme’s Management Group members currently advise the U.S. Secretary of Defense by serving on the U.S. Defense Policy Board, and one of Trireme’s principals, Richard Perle, is chairman of that Board.” The two other policy-board members associated with Trireme are Henry Kissinger, the former Secretary of State (who is, in fact, only a member of Trireme’s advisory group and is not involved in its management), and Gerald Hillman, an investor and a close business associate of Perle’s who handles matters in Trireme’s New York office. The letter said that forty-five million dollars had already been raised, including twenty million dollars from Boeing; the purpose, clearly, was to attract more investors, such as Khashoggi and Zuhair.

Four members of the Defense Policy Board told me (Hersh) that the board, which met most recently on February 27th and 28th, had not been informed of Perle’s involvement in Trireme. One board member, upon being told of Trireme and Perle’s meeting with Khashoggi, exclaimed, “Oh, get out of here. He’s the chairman! If you had a story about me setting up a company for homeland security, and I’ve put people on the board with whom I’m doing that business, I’d be had”—a reference to Gerald Hillman, who had almost no senior policy or military experience in government before being offered a post on the policy board. “Seems to me this is at the edge of or off the ethical charts. I think it would stink to high heaven.”

Hillman, a former McKinsey consultant, stunned at least one board member at the February meeting when he raised questions about the validity of Iraq’s existing oil contracts. “Hillman said the old contracts are bad news; he said we should kick out the Russians and the French,” the board member told me. “This was a serious conversation. We’d become the brokers. Then we’d be selling futures in the Iraqi oil company. I said to myself, ‘Oh, man. Don’t go down that road.’” Hillman denies making such statements at the meeting.

After reading this, I have one simple question for President Bush at his next sleep-inducing press conference:

“Mr. President, do you not see a conflict of interest between Mr. Perle’s work for you and his financial interests, and if not, why not?”

We’re going beyond blowjobs in the Oval Office here, and towards a national security strategy built around the personal gain of those involved as chief advisers (Perle) and decisionmakers (Cheney), influencing a man who is steered to believe that it is his divine calling to take actions that enrich his inner circle.

Steve :: 1:11 PM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!