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Robbing Us Blind from FEMA to Iraq

Message Ron Fullwood
In September of 2003 it was reported that yet another group of businessmen linked by their close ties to President George Bush, his family, and his administration had set up a consulting firm to advise companies that want to do business in Iraq. Positioning themselves to benefit from the blood and sacrifice of our soldiers and from our nation's garnished wages, 'New Bridge Strategies' offered to use the connections they had cultivated while on the public payroll to steer business to Iraq and to the billions of dollars which they anticipated would be directed there.

New Bridge Strategies was headed by Joe Allbaugh, Mr. Bush's campaign manager in 2000. Among the other members of this vulture's club were Edward Rogers and Lanny Griffith, lobbyists who were assistants to the first Bush presidency.

The company's website at their inception stated that, "Opportunities evolving in Iraq today are of such an unprecedented nature and scope that no other existing firm has the necessary skills and experience to be effective both in Washington, D.C., and on the ground in Iraq." (None? No Iraqi firms?)

"New Bridge will seek to expedite the creation of free and fair markets and new economic growth in Iraq, consistent with the policies of the Bush Administration," their web appeal read.

"Consistent with the policies of the Bush Administration." That's clear enough. New Bridge boasts of its, "25 years of experience in Iraq and throughout the Middle East and the political experience of some of the most successful government and political professionals in Washington, D.C., and London."

They openly hawked their public policy experience, their "positions in the Reagan Administration and both Bush Administrations", and their relationships with "international agencies in the Executive Branch; DOD and the USAID (reconstruction's bank), and links to Congress.

Joe M. Allbaugh, the director of New Bridge, was the CEO of the Allbaugh Company, LLC. Allbaugh is one of many opportunists who have set up shop to take advantage of his old boss' confederation's global power agenda. Allbaugh was gifted with the prime position of director of FEMA after he ran Bush-Cheney's national campaign in 2000.

The money dispersed by FEMA has, in the past, been regarded as a slush-fund by Republican administrations to pimp for votes in communities which declare emergencies. Portraits of presidents peering out of rain-slicked helicopter windows as they survey the damage of devastated communities grace the local headlines and evening news and make for good propaganda in an election year or draw attention from scandals.

Allbaugh's appointment to FEMA- a traditional reward from the president for a campaign job well done- was second in political patronage to the secretary of commerce position, which went to the president's old friend and oil roughneck, Don Evans. The glow of government appropriation power lasted until March 2003, when Allbaugh decided to abandon the scrutiny of his public office and leech onto the new defense money pie from outside of government, behind a slick web page; as a faceless opportunist in the short line for the new appropriated largess.

To support his scheme to hijack the next-generation of defense dollars, which our soldiers desperately need, and our country can scarcely afford, he conspired with Ed Rogers, vice chairman of Barbour Griffith & Rogers, Inc., the firm he founded with Haley Barbour in 1991. Rogers had been deputy assistant to the president and assistant to the White House chief of staff. He also was the senior deputy to the master of wedge politics, Lee Atwater.

Lanny Griffith is another Barbour bandit who trolled for the new defense dollars. He hopes to trade on his Bush I appointment in '91 as assistant secretary of education for intergovernmental and interagency affairs from November 1991 until January 1993. He also served in the White House as special assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and was the political director for the 1988 Bush-Quayle campaign. Intergovernmental affairs is just another name for the White House fixer; a vote counter in Congress, and an arm twister in and out of government for favored legislation. As New Bridge promised, "When Iraq is ready to rebuild, we will be there."

In June, it was reported that companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA were snatching up the first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts the Bush administration was doling out in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, George W. Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of FEMA were chosen by the administration to start recovery work along the Gulf Coast. One was Shaw Group Inc. and the other was Halliburton.

Today, it was reported that a U.S. lobbying firm with close ties to the White House is campaigning to undermine Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government. It was no surprise that the manipulators turned out to be Barbour Griffith & Rogers, the very opportunists who've been steering events in Iraq to their advantage since Bush first invaded.

from CNN:

A senior Bush administration official confirmed the reports that Barbour Griffith & Rogers is "blasting e-mails all over town," criticizing al-Maliki and promoting its client, former interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, as his replacement.

But the official insisted White House officials are not endorsing or involved in the campaign to remove al-Maliki.

"There's just no connection whatsoever," the official told CNN. "There's absolutely no involvement."

So, why would allies of the White House contradict the president publicly in this matter?

"They're making a lot of money," the official replied.

From FEMA to Iraq, the president and his pied-mynas have done nothing but attend to their own pocketbooks at the expense of everyone in their path. It's clear that they believe they can still manipulate this administration and their republican enablers in Congress to their bidding. They're robbing us blind, right in front of us.

This White House has spent billions on its propaganda, here in the U.S. and in Iraq. "No connection whatsoever?" No involvement with the administration? These vultures ARE the administration.

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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price
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