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could use a little "Structural Adjustment".

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

"I made 50 million bucks yesterday. That's a flame-out I could get used to." -- Conrad Black, after being forced out as CEO of media giant Hollinger International last November.

Andrew has already linked to the growing Hollinger International scandal, and so in that vein I will post another link to an interesting older article connecting the Right Wing media's biggest players, which include Hollinger, News Corp, and Reverend Moon's UPI, and how they have used their ties to the Vice-President to hijack U.S. foreign policy. The story here is deeper, and since major media players are involved the filters necessary to get to the bottom make it a very murky task indeed.

The whole thing seems fishy, from today's Wall Street Journal:

"Hollinger audit commitee member Richard Burt, a former U.S. amabassador to Germany said that 'I don't agree with the special committee's conclusions concerning the perfromance of the board,' and that ' in the course of its work, the special committee did not meet with me to discuss the board's performance, despite fact that I did ask to meet with the special committee.' He declined to elaborate."

Which seems innocuous until one considers Burt's current ties to the Carlyle Group and that it was Ronald Reagan who appointed him ambassador back in 1985. Burt is friends with James Baker, Donald Rumsfeld and other Neo-cons connected to Carlyle. The Carlyle group has expressed interest in buying some of Hollinger International's now deeply discounted assets and one would think after the Sarbanes-Oxley act that came in the wake of the Enron and Arthur Andersen scandals that ties like Burt's would preclude him from being an audit committee member in the first place. If it stopped there, the story might just seem like some crackpot coincidence, but it doesn't.

Consider Andre Bisson, another Carlyle chum (currently a member of Carlyle Canada's advisory board) and shadowy magnate who abruptly resigned four days after being named a director and Hollinger audit committee member. According to Hollinger, Bisson resigned "due to a conflict." According to Bisson, he was never a director, despite a Hollinger press release that states otherwise.

Bisson might have known something that others didn't; Perle, Burt, Kissinger, and Marie-Josee Kravis have all been mentioned as possible defendants in a lawsuit by special committee chair Richard Breeden on behalf of Hollinger shareholders. And suddenly the mess gets more complicated. Richard Breeden is the same Richard Breeden who helped to clear a former Harken Energy executive of insider trading in 1991. Oh... what was that executive's name? It's on the tip of my tongue, George W. something or other. Breeden was then appointed by the president to be a sort of corporate watchdog, in a strange role reversal his first task was making sure Worldcom execs didn't shred evidence, but since he has taken this "tough on corporate wrong-doers" face while essentially doing very little.

Why is a former counsel of the President and current presidential appointee now threatening to sue the President's supposed friends? Why the timing of this release on the eve of the President's acceptance of his party's nomination? In looking at the substance of the report, the rhetoric has been ratcheted up, but the facts are the same as they have been for months. No new information of note came out with this. Maybe the President needs an outward sign that he's being tough on corporate crime. Kissinger and Perle have been relegated to the fringes and might be seen as potential liabilities, but Kravis? Marie-Josee is the wife of billionaire Henry Kravis, one of the famed Barbarians at the Gate who took over Nabisco in the eighties and a current Bush Pioneer who also helped with both of Bush Sr's campaigns.

Once again the murkiness of the story is manifest. One thing is for certain, the media is the least likely to be objective in this case, one way or the other, tread carefully my friends.

Bran 12:18 PM : |


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