What a tangled web we weave
Who would have thought the NYT would be running an expose of Bill Clinton? Times change.
Late on Sept. 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra touched down in Almaty, a ruggedly picturesque city in southeast Kazakhstan ... Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan ... But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.
At the midnight banquet with Kazakhstan's president, which Giustra attended, Bill Clinton rose to fulsomely praise Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, a man the NYT described by saying his "19-year stranglehold on the country has all but quashed political dissent."
Mr. Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.
Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.
The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.
Then the NYT puts the knife in.
Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.
That proves it. But that all depends on what "proves" proves. Just because the Giustra's donation to Clinton came after the uranium deal doesn't mean the two were connected, does it? Probably mindful of this, the rest of the article goes into the extremely suggestive nature of Clinton's visit; it's hurried nature and general tenor in the context of Bill Clinton's dealings with such worthies as Ronald Burkle and Vinod Gupta.
One of the persons left holding the bag was Hillary Clinton, who was made to look like a chump by her husband's antics. Hillary had earlier issued dire warnings about about the Kazakhstan's president. Eleven months later, her husband was lionizing him in public. "Mr. Clinton’s spokesman said the former president saw 'no contradiction' between his statements in Kazakhstan and the position of Mrs. Clinton." In a certain universe, contradictions don't contradict.
Eleven months before Mr. Clinton’s statement, Mrs. Clinton co-signed a commission letter to the State Department that sounded “alarm bells” about the prospect that Kazakhstan might head the group. The letter stated that Kazakhstan’s bid “would not be acceptable,” citing “serious corruption,” canceled elections and government control of the news media.
In a written statement to The Times, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman said the former president saw “no contradiction” between his statements in Kazakhstan and the position of Mrs. Clinton, who said through a spokeswoman, “Senator Clinton’s position on Kazakhstan remains unchanged.”