The Giustra File: ‘Sustainable Growth’ & Huge Profits

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We can’t say we weren’t warned. As revelations pour in about the sketchy ties between big business, big donors, the State Department and the Clinton Foundation, the founding documents of that relationship continue to surprise, sometimes for sheer audacity. Here are the Clintons, in a 2008 Memorandum of Understanding drafted for the Obama presidential transition team, on the role mining mogul Frank Giustra and other resource-extraction giants would play in the foundation’s “Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI).”

“CGSGI works with the mining industry, local and national governments, and other non-governmental organizations to enable sustainable growth in countries where the mining sector plays a significant role,” the memorandum notes. “It is funded by significant commitments from Frank Giustra, Carlos Slim, Lukas Lundin and various mining related entities.”

On another front, the Washington Post reported yesterday that Giustra formed in Canada a charity, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), that evaded the State Department ethics agreement by concealing the names of some 1,100 donors. According to the Post, the CGEP “has spent nearly $30 million in current U.S. dollars since 2007; and nearly $25 million of that spending has gone directly to the Clinton Foundation.”

Shaking down the mining industry for donations to “sustainable growth” is a beautiful scam, truly Clintonian in its slickness. But we now know that Frank Giustra probably had the last laugh. News reports say Giustra himself donated more than $31 million to the Clinton Foundation since the mid-2000s—a relationship that greased the skids for huge profits in his deals for Kazakh uranium and Colombian energy.

First published at Judicial Watch’s Investigative Bulletin, April 29, 2015

Investigative Update: Key Figures Call on FBI Director to Open Cardillo Files

Responding to my stories (below) in the New York Post and on Judicial Watch’s website, four senior law-enforcement  figures in the original Cardillo investigation have called on FBI Director James Comey to open the FBI’s secret files on the case. James Harmon, John Van Lindt, Randy Jurgensen and one NYPD detective who wished to remain anonymous called on Comey “to right a grievous wrong and make one last effort to find justice for a slain police officer.”

“In particular,” they noted, “the FBI should conduct a thorough search of its special file room for all documents pertaining to the Nation of Islam and COINTELPRO, Operation Newkill, the Harlem Mosque Incident and Phillip Cardillo. It should focus on informant, wiretap and electronic-surveillance records. The documents should be provided to the Manhattan DA and made public. Justice however long delayed is still justice.”

The open letter to Director Comey was published in the Post. Read it here.

 

Killing Cardillo: What Did The FBI Know & When Did They Know It?

Yesterday, the New York Post ran my investigative report on a very cold case: the mortal wounding of NYPD Patrolman Phillip Cardillo inside Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam Mosque #7 in Harlem in April, 1972. The “Harlem Mosque Incident” would become one of the most controversial cases in NYPD history—a tale of betrayal and cover-up, race and politics, played out across a disintegrating city.

I’m grateful to the Post for getting behind a story that raises the disturbing possibility that the FBI was deeply involved in the events surrounding Cardillo’s death. Due to space limitations at the newspaper, some of the supporting material had to be cut. Judicial Watch’s Investigative Bulletin is posting the story here in full. If the Post’s terrific version was enough for you, stop here. If you want more—and with apologies for some overlap between the two—read on.

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Did an FBI call accidentally kill an NYPD officer?

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First published in the New York Post, April 19, 2015

Today, the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club will ride in honor of Phillip Cardillo, an NYPD officer who was killed 43 years ago inside a Harlem mosque. Later this year, it’s expected that the street in front of the new police academy in Queens will be named after Cardillo.

It’s a belated honor for the only unsolved police killing in modern NYPD history — a case, writes investigative reporter Micah Morrison, that may have an unlikely culprit.

At 11:41 am, April 14, 1972, a call came into the NYPD’s communication division.

“Hello, this is Detective Thomas of the 28th Precinct.”

“Yeah.”

“I have a 10-13 West 116th Street.”

“102 West 116th?”

“Right, that’s on the second floor.”

“Second floor?”

“Right”

“Hold on.”

But the caller hung up.

A 10-13 is every cop’s worst nightmare, a red alert meaning “officer in distress.”

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Malaysian Mystery

In a little noticed item, the Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. government has lifted sanctions on B.S. Abu Tahir, a key player in A.Q. Khan’s nuclear proliferation network. In its heyday, the Khan Network supplied nuclear weapon technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea—and those are only the ones that can be confirmed. Counter-proliferation experts believe Khan had other customers as well.

Tahir has long been a sensitive issue for the Malaysians. In 2004, as the Khan Network was exposed, President Bush called Tahir the group’s “chief financial officer and money launderer.” Tahir’s wife was partner in a company with the son of then-Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi. The Khan Network set up a centrifuge component workshop in one of company’s factories, working on parts for shipment to Libya. Malaysia jailed Tahir for four years without charges and then let him go. Read the Malaysian police report on Tahir here.

Longtime Khan watchers are mystified by the U.S. move. In their book, “Fallout: The True Story of the CIA’s Secret War on Nuclear Trafficking,” journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins note that Tahir is “a veteran of the nuclear underworld.” He knows where the bodies are buried and where the treasure is hidden. In Switzerland, by the way, the Tinner family—three engineers who played key roles in Khan’s nuclear smuggling network—are also roaming free. Back in Pakistan, Khan is a national hero, under government protection. Lately he has been promoting old cronies in his newspaper column. The Khan Network’s capacity for nuclear mischief may be greatly diminished but that kind of knowledge on the loose is a dangerous thing. Attention should be paid.

First published at Judicial Watch’s Investigative Bulletin, April 7, 2015

Judicial Watch & The Clintons

First published at Judicial Watch’s Investigative Bulletin, March 16, 2015

At Judicial Watch, we’ve had a long relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton. For more than twenty years, from our founding in 1994, Judicial Watch has consistently sought to shed sunlight on the Clintons’ activities through the Freedom of Information Act, other state and federal open government laws, and litigation. Indeed, as the Associated Press recently noted,  Judicial Watch is in the forefront of new players replacing the legacy media as leaders in gathering government information.

So the recent revelations from Clinton World—that Mrs. Clinton kept a secret email system while at the State Department, and that the Clinton Foundation gobbled up vast sums of foreign money—are no surprise to us. In fact, we broke open the Foundation money story with this July 2014 investigative report. And by the way, we also triggered the creation of the Benghazi Select Committee with disclosure of this White House email, also obtained under FOIA litigation, in May.

We know the Clintons well. The secret server scandal and the unmistakable odor of financial impropriety at the Clinton Foundation are just the latest in a long train of ethical abuses, from Mrs. Clinton’s marvelously profitable cattle commodity trades, to the Whitewater Development Co., Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, Arkansas corruption, the Travel Office Affair, the missing Rose Law Firm billing records, the missing Vincent Foster records, withheld White House records, witness intimidation, the 1996 campaign finance scandal, pimping out the Lincoln Bedroom, illegal money flow from China, criminal convictions of Clinton associates in Arkansas and Washington, a war on duly appointed federal prosecutors, Monica Lewinsky, lies under oath and the abuse of the presidential power of the pardon.

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ABCs of IRS mess: Justice Department is tainted, too

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First published in the New York Post, January 29, 2015

At her confirmation hearings Wednesday, Loretta Lynch said she’s only “generally aware” of the Justice Department’s investigation of IRS targeting of conservative groups.

As a service for our likely new attorney general, here’s a primer on why so many in Congress want a special counsel in the IRS case.

Under federal rules, the attorney general appoints a special counsel “when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter . . . would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances.”

In this case, there’s both.

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Benghazi: Absolutely, Positively No Gambling Going On At Rick’s Cafe

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“From the Annex in Benghazi, the CIA was collecting intelligence about foreign entities that were themselves collecting weapons in Libya and facilitating their passage to Syria. The Benghazi Annex was not itself collecting weapons.”

–Final House Intelligence Report on Benghazi, P. 16

The final House Intelligence Committee Report on Benghazi received its Last Rites on Friday in a classic Washington media play–dump the body right before a holiday weekend, when everyone is too busy to actually take a close look at the corpse. The press reacted predictably, scanning the report for the headlines: no “stand down,” no denial of air support, no bad intel in days and weeks leading up to the attack, no U.S. shipments of arms to Syria, no gambling at Rick’s Café. Conservatives demolished. MSNBC rejoices.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers is now free to take up his duties January 5 as a host of the syndicated radio show, “Something to Talk About,” which the Associated Press tells us will include “humorous, compelling and moving stories about issues including national security.” His wife, Kristi Rogers, has already decamped as CEO of the controversial private security contractor with Libyan interests, Aegis Defense Services.

But Benghazi may prove hard to run away from. We learn from the report that the attackers were “a mixed group” unrelated to a protest over an incendiary video. Oh, okay. We learn that the notorious talking points were “flawed,” but never mind. There is more to be mined on both these points.

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Benghazi: What The Government Wants Us To Think

First published at the Daily Caller, October 30, 2014

We now have two serious investigative tracks into the Benghazi killings — Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Special Select Committee, which I examined here, and the Justice Department’s Ahmed Abu Khatallah prosecution. On October 14, the government filed a superseding indictment in the case.

The Benghazi militia figure was snatched by Delta Force in June and brought to Washington to face charges in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Patrick Smith, Tyrone Snowden Woods and Glen Anthony Doherty. The indictment charges  Khatallah with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, providing material support to terrorists and related crimes. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Gowdy is a former prosecutor, and so far he is running his committee like a grand jury, gathering evidence mostly in secret. The Khatallah indictment — put together by a real grand jury — signals where the Justice Department is going with the case. It will be revealing to see how closely Gowdy’s facts track the government’s, and if, and where, they diverge.

So what does the Khatallah indictment teach us?

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Alabama Indicts: Corruption or Business as Usual?

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First published at Judicial Watch’s Investigative Bulletin, October 27, 2014

In Alabama last week—two weeks before Election Day—a special state grand jury issued a 23-count indictment against Mike Hubbard, the powerful Republican speaker of the state’s House of Representatives. Hubbard immediately proclaimed his innocence, denouncing the long-expected charges as part of “a political witch hunt.” His lawyer condemned “rogue prosecutors.” A political legend in Alabama, in 2010 Hubbard engineered the Republican takeover of all state-wide offices and put an end to generations of Democratic control of both house of the Legislature.

The timing of the indictment is curious. Federal authorities frown on issuing politically sensitive indictments in election seasons, but Alabama state politics ain’t beanbag. The indictment charges Hubbard with numerous offences against “the peace and dignity” of the state, including soliciting more than $600,000 for his printing business, Craftmaster; improperly using his position as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party to solicit business for Craftmaster and another business, Auburn Network; improperly using his position as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives to obtain cash and other goodies from the Southeast Alabama Gas District, a public utility; and strong-arming prominent political players to obtain business for his companies.

Hubbard says the indictment is all about putting a stop to “the positive progress” his party has made in Alabama. “There’s a bigger agenda out there,” he told supporters at a campaign rally a day after the indictment was made public, “and over the next few weeks, we will be finding out and exposing all of this.”

Signaling a likely defense, Hubbard asked, “why is it that the attorney general’s office thinks that it’s a crime to have a business? And thinks that you cannot do business with anyone that you didn’t know before you were elected office? It could be any one of us up here.”

First comes the election. Then an Alabama jury will get to decide whether this is corruption or just business as usual. For Hubbard, some recent Alabama history is not promising: the former governor of the state and the former mayor of Birmingham, both Democrats, are serving time on corruption charges.