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Comments by YACCS
Friday, April 08, 2005

Comrade Tom

See that flag behind me? I wipe my ass with it.

TOM DELAY AND THE RUSSIANS....Garance Franke-Ruta read to the end of today's Washington Post story about Tom DeLay's 1997 trip to Russia and was appalled to learn that it was financed by a firm with "tight connections to the Russian security establishment":

The United States of America cannot have one of its top congressional leaders taking money from people advocating for Russian military-intelligence and defense interests as part of a lobbying deal. It simply cannot. It is unacceptable for a critical leader in the U.S. government to be taken on a junket by groups working for foreign military interests or lobbying on their behalf, even if indirectly and without his knowledge.

Hmmm. Back in the mid-90s, wasn't DeLay awfully vocal about opposing action to stop Serbian genocide in Kosovo? And wasn't the Russian security establishment one of the biggest defenders of Serb interests?

I wonder if this subject happened to get mentioned between tee shots on that junket?

Fuck Tom DeLay, his wife and spawn.

I just wanted to say that because it needed to be said.

Garance Franke-Ruta and Kevin Drum kinda get the point, but they don't.

The Russians are very subtle in using espionage, and creating agents of influence.

This was not random, it was not accidental. My belief is that DeLay was cultivated by the SVR (the KGB's external successor)

The political need to pamper the KGB translated well into almost unlimited funds, facilities, the ability to place KGB personnel in any Soviet organisation, inside or abroad and job offers no other organisation could match. Its foreign intelligence gathering and processing body was known as the PGU, the Russian acronym for the First Chief Directorate. Foreign Minister Boris Pankin said once that 50% of the Soviet staff in the US were working for the PGU. The unofficial FBI figure was 25%.

What this means is that the SVR has a large and detailed file on DeLay, and knew his weaknesses. In the old days, they used a honey pot, they would send a boy (which was great) or a girl, get you to fuck them and then tape the whole thing. A few days later, you get an offer to work for the KGB/SVR or have your infidelity exposed.

The SVR and the Russian government were not only committed to saving the Serbs, their traditional allies, but in blunting Western influence, especially German and French influence in the Balkans. What they needed was someone to stop Clinton and Major, then Blair from intervening and crushing their allies. The Croats, with help from Dynacorp and other merceneries, retrained their Army and blew the Serbs away in a blitz. The Russians didn't want that to happen in Bosnia or what was exploding in Kosovo. So they had probably worked for a cuple of years to get to people near DeLay. They knew his weaknesses were arrogance and money.

Remember the Jerrold Post evaluation of Saddam? Well, the SVR has one on DeLay and briefed his future hosts on it. Nothing formal, not like the movies, but a detailed briefing in their offices, a couple of biographical sketches on DeLay and his staff and lobbyists, along with SVR reports on previous junkets, made approaching him easy. Now, they would never say "hey, we're Russians, do our bidding", but they knew from their Washington station that he was eager to make Clinton look bad at any price and was greedy as well.

So, knowing DeLay's outsized ego and his penchant for gifts, they lay on this trip. Now, I don't think they mentioned this between tee shots, I think they worked in how the Muslims were backing the Bosnians and Kosovans and that Clinton was in over his head and that the best way to handle the region was to leave it to the Europeans. It was never ham handed, for one thing. It was never as overt as a bribe. All they wanted from DeLay was to know he would listen to their side. That's all they needed.

But they also used their lobbyists to make sure DeLay would remain friendly.

Franke-Ruta goes on to quote:

The efforts by Naftasib's executives to curry favor among Republicans -- including DeLay -- sowed controversy at the time among conservatives. A journal published by a Washington think tank, the American Foreign Policy Council, claimed within a few days after DeLay's trip ended that it was actually "sponsored" by Naftasib. The journal -- the Russian Reform Monitor -- also highlighted what it characterized as Naftasib's tight connections to the Russian security establishment.

The journal quoted promotional literature for Naftasib that described the firm as a major shareholder in Gazprom, the state-controlled oil and gas giant. The literature also said Natfasib's largest clients were the ministries of defense and internal affairs. The literature also states that Nevskaya was an instructor at a school for Russian military intelligence officers.

No, this was not just a few companies trying to buy influence. This feels like an SVR operation to influence US policy in the Balkans. "Tight Connections", you mean like the connections between Air America and the CIA? Everything about this company has SVR dripping all over it.

Let me put it this way: Tom DeLay's greedy ass was so blinded by a free trip and money that he was setting himself up to be used by a foriegn government. I even wonder did he talk to the FBI or CIA about his friends, wondering exactly who they were and what they were into. Which is something a senior legislator should ask. The SVR knew his character and went to work on it.

While it didn't work in influencing policy, it certainly slowed down US policy in the region because of DeLay's antagonism.

Maybe DeLay thought it was another junket, but I cannot imagine his hosts didn't want more than business. They were seeking influence on US policy and it was DeLay's responsibility to check into this and not do it if US policy could be compromised.

posted by Steve @ 11:41:00 AM

11:41:00 AM

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