Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bruce Fein & Turkey

There was a great discussion on Bill Moyer's Journal on Friday regarding torture. The guests were Mark Danner and Bruce Fein. As you probably know, Danner recently wrote a terrific article in the NYRB on torture and the Red Cross report, and Bruce Fein has been an elequent Republican voice on the constitution and rule of law, and called for the impeachment of George Bush way back when. Fein was also associate deputy attorney general under the Regan Administration. As it happens, I was looking into Fein earlier this week.

Fein is Chairman and co-founder (with Bob Barr, David Keene and Richard Viguerie) of a group called the American Freedom Agenda which was founded in March 2007.

The ten points of the American Freedom Agenda pledge are:
  1. No military commissions except on the battlefield.
  2. No evidence extracted by torture or coercion.
  3. No detaining citizens as unlawful enemy combatants.
  4. Restoring habeas corpus for suspected alien enemy combatants.
  5. Prohibiting warrantless spying by the National Security Agency in violation of law.
  6. Renouncing presidential signing statements.
  7. Ending secret government by invoking State Secrets Privilege.
  8. Stopping extraordinary rendition by the United States.
  9. Stopping threats to prosecuting journalists under the Espionage Act of 1917.
  10. Ending the listing of individuals or organizations as terrorists based on secret evidence.
All of those are admirable, of course, although the events of the last 24 hours warrant that item #9 deserves to be highlighted. That item has an odd specificity to it.

You see, Bruce Fein is now in private practice as a lobbyist. He has one company called Fein & Fein with his son Bruce which provides "premium appellate, trial, regulatory, and media services." He has another at the same address called The Lichfield Group with only two principals, the other being a Mathilde Fein, presumably a family member. The 'Expertise' page on Lichfield's website claims a lot of things.

Under a category called "United States and Canada" they claim, among other things, "high level connections with the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the Central Intelligence Agency, on the one hand, to The New York Times, The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal."

Under "Central and Eastern Europe," they claim, among other things, that their services "reach constitutional reform, oil and gas, NATO and European Union membership, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and OPIC, relations with the Hague Tribunal, WTO problems."

Under "South America," they claim, among other things, to provide consulting regarding "drug trafficking, money laundering, and thickening ties with the United States Congress, the Executive Branch, and law and regulatory enforcement agencies."

Under "The Middle East and North Africa" they note that "The Group offers consulting in areas of major concern:... terrorism; nuclear and missile proliferation money laundering; free trade agreements with the United States; oil and gas exploration, refining, and transportation."

Also, Mathilde Fein was "recently invited by the Foreign Policy Institute of Turkey and Bilkent University to present a paper on democratic elections in Iraq and human rights issues."

I don't want to be accused of cherry picking here, so please read the 'expertise' page at the site.

Fein has another company called Bruce Fein & Associates, located at 1025 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 1000. Washington, D.C.. 20036, which incidentally shares that address with the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund - TALDF, where Bruce Fein is the main contact. A bunch of similar astro-trurf groups - including the Turkish Coalition of America, TCA - share the same address. Bruce Fein is 'resident scholar' at the Turkish Coalition of America. Fein's Huffington Post bio also notes that he was previously 'resident scholar' at ATAA. According to Sibel Edmonds, the ATAA conducts "the dirty activities" of the Turkey/Israeli lobby - including delivering bribes and other forms of blackmail to congressmen like Hastert, Roy Blunt, Tom Lantos, Dan Burton and others. Phil Giraldi similarly fingers ATAA here.

Fein's Huffington Post bio also notes that he has been "a consultant to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus." Isn't that odd. Just last month I noted that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was at the heart of Sibel's money laundering claims -and that the TRNC was also at the heart of money laundering operations for Central Asian dictators, terrorists like Osama Bin Laden, and "US government agencies," "certain US government people," "certain non-profit organizations in the US," "certain US institutions including banking institutions," and "certain US-based organizations."

So, yeah, Bruce Fein is a 'resident scholar' at the Turkish Coalition of America, which, as Mizgin notes, "is closely linked to the Deep State and has created and founded an "academic" program to officially deny the Armenian genocide."

The president of the Turkish Coalition of America is Lincoln McCurdy who "was the president and chief executive officer, 1998 - 2004, and executive director, 1989 – 1998, of the American-Turkish Council (ATC) in Washington." The ATC is at the heart of Sibel's claims.

It should therefore not surprise anyone that Bruce Fein would be called upon to write op-eds such as this which parrots Turkey's position on the Armenian genocide. Fein's position, coincidentally, mimics the genocide-denial position of Bob Livingston, who has long been on Turkey's payroll. Who'd have thought that different people, with different ideological bents, paid to have the same opinion, would actually have the same 'opinion'?

I don't care whether the Armenian genocide resolution makes sense or not (Giraldi argues that it is stupid - but I can't find the link) - but the fact that someone with the apparent stature and integrity of Bruce Fein has apparently succumbed to Mammon on this issue is cause for concern for us all.

Update: More here


Gha said...

It may not be that relevant but when you mentioned the importance of Cyprus I immediately thought of the Medstream pipeline deal. I presume you're aware of it. It's supposed to go from Ceyhan in Turkey and proceed underwater to Ashkelon in Israel. Which means it goes right by Cyprus. I don't know if that would actually involve Cyprus in any way but in relation to the larger issue of Israeli/Turkish relations it's seems important. I hear the latest is that India is interested in buying from Israel as a partner in the deal and there are talks with Russia regarding natural gas. An earlier deal that led up to this involved Israel upgrading some of Turkey's weapon systems in exchange for buy tons and tons of water from Turkey. After the deal was made the Israelis realized they didn't have a way to ship the water. The new pipeline (actually five separate pipelines) will be the first in the world to pump water.

tsisageya said...

Damn it, that's IT! If Bruce Fein is corrupt then THERE IS NO HOPE.

There is only so much I can take.

Lori Mojulo said...

Fein is a slim ball who will say anything for the right price. See what he is doing to Sri Lanka.

enginar said...

five separate pipelines????
the talk on this is mostly under the radar on the island but it is becoming clearer. I would like to know more though