By Philip Althouse
A common perception of many Americans is that our political system revolves around money and power. Maybe a bit of amnesia as well. Most Ohioans—if they ever knew-- have forgotten the scandal over Ohio-based Matrix Churchill Corporation’s arms deals with
Persian Gulfinvasion in the fall of 1992, three senior officials at Matrix Churchill Ltd. were put on trial in
for illegal shipment of equipment for military use to Britain . The charges were dropped after it was learned that Iraq
the British government had approved the shipments. Some of the evidence used in the prosecution of the Matrix
officials came from an investigation launched by the House Banking Committee into activities of the Italian Banca
Nazionale del Lavoro (
BNL) a year earlier.
branch of the Atlanta BNLcame under investigation by Congress for fraud in using loans from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture to finance
’s pre-war military buildup. Informants also told the FBI that the bank had Iraq
provided large unreported loans to foreign countries, including
. The Banking Committee discovered that Iraq BNL
helped to finance Matrix Churchill operations. During the period of
BNL’s illegal activities, it was a client of
Kissinger Associates (KI), an international consulting firm founded by Henry Kissinger.
KI’s strategic support to
BNLwas enhanced by the presence of Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger
who served as the firm’s Vice Chair and President. Eagleburger became Secretary of State under President
George H.W. Bush. Scowcroft became Bush’s National Security Advisor.
The Banking Committee’s investigation also revealed that Scowcroft held stock in numerous companies that
were involved in military equipment manufacturing or were clients of KI.
Making money from arms sales to
But that’s not the end of the story. In December 2003 President Bush named James Baker,
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20041101/klein [James Baker, Carlyle Group and
Remember that Baker replaced William Gates on the Iraq Study Group. Lawrence Eagleburger is a member.
And while you’re listening to the pundits applaud