Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Company You Keep

George has another plan. This one's "a critical component of our freedom agenda." Washington Post (08.29.06):
"President Bush launched an initiative this month to combat international kleptocracy, the sort of high-level corruption by foreign officials that he called 'a grave and corrosive abuse of power' that 'threatens our national interest and violates our values.' The plan, he said, would be 'a critical component of our freedom agenda.' Three weeks later, the White House is making arrangements to host the leader of Kazakhstan, an autocrat who runs a nation that is anything but free and who has been accused by U.S. prosecutors of pocketing the bulk of $78 million in bribes from an American businessman." With Kazakh's Visit, Bush Priorities Clash
"Not only will President Nursultan Nazarbayev visit the White House, people involved say, but he also will travel to the Bush family compound in Maine." George invites this man into his home? How telling. Speaking of violated values. Back home, Nursultan "has banned opposition parties, intimidated the press and profited from his post, according to the U.S. government. But he also sits atop massive oil reserves that have helped open doors in Washington." Nursultan ain't the only one. "In April, the president welcomed to the Oval Office the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who has been accused of rigging elections. And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hosted Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president of Equatorial Guinea, who has been found to have millions of dollars stashed in overseas bank accounts." Ahhh, Kazakhstan! They have their share of hunting accidents. Suicides too. That they involve the untimely deaths of opposition political figures is obviously an unfortunate and tragic coincidence.


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