… where I saw that this was a problem was dealing with a man by the name of Nahdmi Auchi. A few years ago was listed by one of the big business magazines in the UK as the fifth richest man in the UK. In 1980 left Iraq. He’d grown rich under Saddam Hussein’s oil industry. And is alleged by the Italian press to be involved in a load of arms trading there, he has over two hundred companies run out of his Luxembourg holding unit. And several that we discovered in Panama. He had infiltrated the British Labour political establishment to the degree that the 20th business birthday in London he was given a painting signed by 146 members Commons including Tony Blair. He’s the same guy who was the principal financier of Tony Rezko. Tony Rezko was the financier and fundraiser of Rod Blagoyevich, from Chicago. Convicted of corruption. Tony Rezko has been convicted of corruption. And Barack Obama. He was the intermediary who helped Barack Obama buy one of his houses and then the money not directly for the house but it bouyed up Tony Rezko’s finances came from that… [indistinct]. So during the – this is detail, but it will get to a point. During the 2008 presidential primaries a lot of attention was turned to Barack Obama by the US press, unsurprisingly. And so it started to look into his fundraisers, and discovered Tony Rezko, and then they just started to turn their eyes towards Nadhmi Auchi. Auchi then hired Carter Ruck, a rather notorious firm of London libel solicitors, whose founder, Carter Ruck, has been described as doing for freedom of speech what the Boston strangler did for door to door salesmen.
And he started writing letters to all of the London papers who had records of his 2003 extradition to France and conviction for corruption in France over the Elf-Acquitaine scandal. Where he had been involved in taking kickbacks on selling the invaded Kuwaiti governments’ oil refineries in order to fund their operations while Iraq had occupied it. So the Guardian pulled three articles from 2003. So they were five years old. They had been in the Guardian’s archive for 5 years. Without saying anything. If you go to those URLs you will not see “removed due to legal threats.” You will see “page not found.” And one from the Telegraph. And a bunch from some American publications. And bloggers, and so on. Important bits of history, recent history, that were relevant to an ongoing presidential campaign in the United States were pulled out of the intellectal record. They were also pulled out of the Guardian’s index of articles. So why? The Guardian’s published in print, and you can go to the library and look up those articles. They are still there in the library. How would you know that they were there in the library? To look up, because they are not there in the Guardian’s index. Not only have they ceased to exist, they have ceased to have ever existed. Which is the modern implementation of Orwell’s dictum that he controls the present controls the past and he who controls the past controls the future. Because the past is stored physically in the present. All records of the past.
So you can have a lot of political change in the United States. But will it really change that much? Will it change the amount of money in someone’s bank account? Will it change contracts? Will it void contracts that already exist? And contracts on contracts, and contracts on contracts on contracts? Not really. So I say that free speech in many places – in many Western places – is free not as a result of liberal circumstances in the West but rather as a result of such intense fiscalization that it doesn’t matter what you say. ie. the dominant elite doesn’t have to be scared of what people think, because a change in political view is not going to change whether they own their company or not. It is not going to change whether they own a piece of land or not.
So why is it that people engage… why is it that powerful organizations – there is all sorts of reasons why non-powerful organizations engage in secrecy, which to my view is legitimate, they need it, because they are powerless. But why do powerful organizations engage in secrecy? Well, usually because the plans that they have if made public would be opposed by the public. And plans that are opposed before implementation often don’t get implemented. So you want to wait as long as possible. And then implementation eventually makes them public by the very fact that they are being implemented but it is too late by then to alter the course effectively. So an organization on the other hand that is engaged in planning behaviour that if revealed is not opposed by the public doesn’t have that burden. It doesn’t have that planning burden where it is forced to take things off paper. So this will be an efficient organization, this will not be an efficient organization, and in the mix as they do economic and political battle, it will equilibriate out, these guys will shrink and these guys will grow.
waste not, or die.
Also, the extrinsic risks might be higher. The other risks associated with conducting a political life may already be quite high. So one has to keep these risks in proportion. Also the potential rewards are much greater. One might be involved in a very grand historic moment, and become swept up in it. And because we all only live once, we all suffer the continuous risk of not having lived our life well. Every year. Every year that is not used is 100% wasted, it’s not a risk of that, it is a dead bet.
This Happened In Our Time by clinton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.